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MAI TIME Susi Mai has been at the heart of the kiteboarding scene since the very beginning… She helped the sport to develop and evolve and now spends more of her time focused on her MaiTai events. With more events and a new film around the corner we thought it was a good time for a catch up.

W I N D VOYA G E R T R I P L E - S 2 0 1 6 They say a week is a long time in politics (which has certainly been the case recently in the UK) but 10 years is an absolute age in the world of kite evolution. So to think now, with the kit we have, of guys taking on triple overheard One Eye with what were essentially C kites, well – the mind boggles…



D AYS I N T H E SA N D Here’s a pretty well known fact: Matchu rips. So when he offers up some shots from a recent strike mission to another of the less-explored Cape Verde islands, you can expect photographic gold. And that is exactly what we got…

TEN YEARS ON: THE MAURITIUS I N V I TAT I O N A L 2 0 0 6 Here’s a pretty well known fact: Matchu rips. So when he offers up some shots from a recent strike mission to another of the less-explored Cape Verde islands, you can expect photographic gold. And that is exactly what we got…

092 THE GREENLAND TENDERLOIN When it comes to snow-kite missions, they are all pretty serious. When you have to put up a $25,000 bond to the local authorities so you know they’ll come and pull you out if things go wrong, you know you are at the upper end of the ‘serious’ scale. Renowned climber but inexperienced kiter, Leo Houlding, thought it would be a good option for his first kiting expedition…

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// I’m On It… Patri McLaughlin


// Pro Tip: POV cams with Steven Akkersdijk


// Tangled Lines with Hannah Whiteley


// Profile with The Freeride Project


// On the List… St Kitts and Nevis

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Technique with Billy Parker

// In the Pipeline with RRD

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Tell me about it… Cabrinha Fireball; Naish Hover Foil



Tested... TEN foils on test



Meteorology with Tony Butt



Kite Sista... The Bare Necessities



Behind the Clip… Euadzio Earth & Space 2016

COVER Cover: Damien LeRoy getting nicely inverted while photographer James Boulding deals with the eerie light and shark jitters (someone had been attacked a few days earlier). Note: We went to print just as we heard about Damien’s paragliding accident - it’s one of the craziest crashes we’ve ever seen and it’s safe to say that someone must be looking down on him... Hopefully scoring a cover will help aid his recovery, and we continue to wish him all the best! HERE Is there a more perfect freestyle vista? Probably not… Photo: Lukas Pitsch TheKiteMag | 13

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It's not all black and white... One of the great things about our sport is that you don’t have to pigeon hole yourself into one category. You can go hard out in boots one day laying down some mega tech wakestyle moves, then stick on straps and go for 20 meter kung-fu boosting moves the next; you can head out hunting for barrels in overhead surf one day, and be pulling flatwater strapless freestyle rotations the next, and you can of course decide to ride a twinnie one day, and have a surfboard in the bag for when the surf turns on the next. There are plenty of options – plenty of ‘shades of grey’ if you will… One thing that has really changed in the last few years though is that the consensus from freestylers, waveriders and, well, pretty much anyone who has been in the sport for a while is that: whatever you do, you’ve also got to foil! The transition from ‘niche’ to ‘nice…’ has been pretty comprehensive – it seems as though it has been France’s best kept secret for the last decade or so but the cat is now out of the bag. With that in mind we thought it made sense to break away from our normal testing regime to dedicate one issue to just testing foils – so over the course of two months we’ve put ten foils through their paces with some pretty interesting results which you can find on the Tested pages. You can also check out how times have changed in our ‘Mauritius Invitational – Ten Years On’ feature, where we reflect on this game-changing event from 2006. The riders were ‘blessed’ with some of the biggest waves ever ridden at One Eye and stepped up with what was the standard waveriding kit of the day. Some strapped, some unhooked, lots of different styles but no one with much in the way of depower… It’s pretty interesting looking back. Then we catch up with someone who knows more than most about the ebbs and flows of the kiting world – Susi Mai talks to us about her journey through the last decade-plus and about her focus now on the non-profit MaiTai world… Plus we have Matchu in action back home, the wakestyle guys killing it at the Triple S, and we have the first tastes of the 2017 kit drop. So in this fantastic world of ours which is full of options (and of contradictions) we invite you to get stuck into the latest issue of TheKiteMag – hopefully you’ll find that it’s not all black and white… Enjoy the issue. Alex


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The Team: Editor: Alex Hapgood ( Sub editor: Cai Waggett Art Director: Louise Kelly Assistant Art Director: Jody Smith Contributors: James Boulding Lukas Pitsch, Renato Balbino, Paul Smyth, Manuela Jungo, Anna Kuzmina, Andre Magarao, Svetlana Romantsova, Clark Merrit, Chris Curran, Quincy Dein, Jason Wolcott, Erik Aider, Owen Buggy, Claudio, Leo Houlding, Brian Wheeler, Ydwer van der Heide, Mark Moore, Toby Bromwich, Marcus Graichen TheKiteMag is‌ BORN Published by WATER M E D I A in Hayle, Cornwall, United Kingdom.

Advertising enquiries: All material in TheKiteMag is subject to copyright. Reproduction without the express permission of the publishers will result in prosecution. Submissions: Online: If you have a clip or would like to get something on the website please send it over to us: In the mag: TheKiteMag welcomes both written and photographic submissions. Photography should be submitted in both RAW and edited format. Please note that the publication of written content is generally dependent on the provision of high quality photography, so in the first instance please send photographic samples and a 150 word synopsis of your writing to: You can find TheKiteMag on:

This magazine is printed on paper sourced from responsibly managed sources using vegetable based inks. Both the paper used in the production of this brochure and the manufacturing process are FSCÂŽ certified. The printers are also accredited to ISO14001, the internationally recognised environmental standard.

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Quality new-design tee

An exclusive Mystic rashie BARRACUDA 6’0



’2 POP 5



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YM: It was a lazy Wednesday, rainy season with no wind at all when I traveled from Jeri to Cumbuco with not much hope for kiting that day. My friend Renato had insisted because he said the wind would come up for us. But it did not. We woke up later next morning, still hoping to have a nice chance to shoot, and when I started to pump my kite the Gods started to blow together, and there was just us, the CauĂ­pe lagoon and a horse! We moved to the flattest part to get some nice shots, and this horse followed us to compose our background.




Western Australia was definitely my best training trip so far. Flat water, wind consistency, smooth living, warm weather, all I was dreaming for in one place. The picture was taken in Safety Bay, in the city of Rockingham, a well-known spot with this typical tree background and also a world class freestyle spot, with a steady sea breeze and a sandbank which creates flat water. A few other pros were there to train as well. Pushing each other on the water is the best way to learn new tricks and stay motivated but it’s also a good opportunity for photographers to get some sick shots. Like this KGB in front of Paul’s lens on a sunny afternoon!

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JB: Building rails takes time and a lot of perseverance, but everything seems like it was all fine after you lock into that first press and the shutter of the camera freezes the action: all the sweat and hard work has paid off‌ This setup combined kiting and SUPing as it entailed getting the build materials to a nearby island then fixing everything together there. I learnt new skills in kiting upwind with 6m pipes; the curse of dead screwdriver batteries, wrong sized wood cuts and had headaches which could only be fixed by kiting or wading back to the beach after the wind had died. So the odds seemed stacked against us, but when you look back all this seems to fizzle away and you just remember the hits and the crashes, and before long thoughts and ideas for the next project start circulating.

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RK: On a recent road trip on the east coast of Australia, I stumbled across a small island located close to the coast that looked epic. The wind wasn’t great because it was the start of winter, but I camped there for a couple days in the hope that I could score at least an hour or two of wind. As soon as I saw some white caps I rigged up and hit it. The conditions were super light and gusty but if you timed it right with a good gust you could get a couple of whacks in before needing to hike back up the beach and go again. If you look closely at my lines you can see what I mean… But it only takes one good whack to make it all worth it.




It’s a tough gig being a CrazyFly rider – they aren’t the kind of brand to do things by half so, when the call comes for the annual product shoot, you’d better make sure your passport is up to date as it’s a pretty safe bet you’re heading to some kind of a tropical paradise. Laci looks pretty stoked on it.

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SR: The first shot is of Julien, who is a new rider for RRD. When I last shot with the RRD team in Cape Town I didn’t manage to shoot with him much as he was quite busy filming. So it was nice to meet him again in Tarifa and finally get some shots with him. Then the other shot is of Gisela. During my last trip to Tarifa I spent some time shooting with Gisela at various different spots – it is always interesting to work with her. The best shots are always from my favorite spot, Balnearo, early in the morning, when the strong Levante has just started blowing and there is no one around yet…

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Mitu has been over on the other side of the pond flying the F-ONE flag and scoring some waves along the way. Here he is during a big south swell in San Carlos with the kind of top turn that’s powerful enough to send a bit of water all the way back to Cape Verde…



I swam out at Nitinat Lake to capture Ocean Rodeo’s own Ned De Beck with my water housing and 1DX. I caught the moment just prior to him taking off and the frozen, backlit water droplets made for an interesting shot from the unique perspective of being in the water and looking up at Ned.


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This location was mythical in the minds of our crew for a few weeks before the shoot. We had heard rumors of a beautiful stretch of coastline with butter smooth water sheltered by islands made up of nothing but conch shells. On this morning we rolled up to find perfect winds and beautiful sparkling blue water. Jesse wasted no time in dropping a plethora of fresh new progressive tricks. This was one of those moments as a photographer where everything comes together. Jesse hasn’t named the trick yet, but he is getting it perfected right now‌

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JW: It’s not every day that the wind blows steady until dark. I have long been in love with slow shutter speed photography, and days like this are just what I’m looking for. I was shooting in a small boat bobbing up and down in the channel making for incredibly challenging conditions for shooting this type of image and just got a bit lucky... Marvin flying high into the sunset.

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When it comes to making ‘hanging out’ look supremely cool there is only one man for the job. Here’s Dimitri getting his boost on and still managing to line up a smile for the camera.

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D I M E N S I O N S : 5 ’ 8 ” X 1 7 7/8 ” X 2 1 /8 ”

The surf-world’s ultimate all-rounder takes us through his ‘go to’ board… I love the Pro Surf because it handles really well in all waves. It has the perfect balance of control and power. In small waves it’s easy to pump the board to generate speed. It’s also easy to get the fins loose when doing snappy turns. In big waves the rail holds really well when turning at high speed, and it’s really easy to blast the fins out when you are hitting the lip. I’ve ridden a lot of boards in the past that only work well for one thing – some boards hold well at high speed, but they don’t work in small waves – and I’ve also ridden boards that are super loose and snappy but feel really unstable in big surf. The North Pro Surf feels really good in anything from flatwater to seven meters waves. For 2017 our production boards have a lightweight EPS foam core and a combination of glass fiber, cork, bamboo and carbon lamination. The deck has multiple layers of 4oz glass, a full sheet of bamboo and two long strips of cork to absorb heel impacts as well as other reinforcements in key areas. The bottom has a couple layers of glass, two strips of bamboo to prevent buckling and a unidirectional carbon beam to help prevent breakage but mainly for added reflex and response. There’s a little more to it than that but we can’t give away all the secrets! 44 | TheKiteMag

It’s a lamination schedule we’ve been fine tuning for a long time and it’s pretty unique.

we are releasing another option for fins. They’re hand sanded glass fins and they work really well…

The bottom shape is very simple but effective. It’s a moderate single concave that reaches max depth just between the front fins and fades to flat at the tail. The rails are super hard at the tail for maximum grip and really round up front to reduce catching. The rails are also pretty foiled so you can really lay hard into your turns without a lot of the deflection you might get from a thicker rail.

We decided not to produce a production Peahi board because there are only a handful of people in the world who need one. The board I ride at Peahi (Jaws) is very narrow and there is very little rocker in the board. It’s also weighted. Peahi boards weigh nearly 10 kilos so it’s almost like a speed board.. I have tried using a production board out there before, but you’re going so fast that the boards feel wobbly. And the last thing you want on a fifteen meter wave is the speed wobbles!

I really advocated lighter boards. It’s been a real challenge finding a light construction that is also strong. Over the past few years Sky and I have tested a bunch of different factory constructions, and 2016 was a breakthrough for us. We finally got a construction that was both light and durable. I’ve been using the same 5’8” through the biggest winter in decades and it’s still in good shape. I also really like the feel of the board. It feels better for kiting than my standard construction surfboards. In the past I have generally ridden with non-production fins. A lot of people don’t realize, but fins make a tremendous difference in the way a board feels. For 2017 though,

I ride with a back deck pad and I wax the rest of the board all the way up to the nose. I’ve always liked the way wax feels under my feet. It also makes the board feel thinner. I’ve noticed over a longer period of time that a front deck pad can wear out and can become even more slippery then wax. The only thing I do like about the front pad is the added cushion as, if you kite for really long sessions, the wax can make your heel hurt. I also use the Pro CSC for flat water freestyle tricks. The CSC board is super light and short so it’s easy to launch higher and rotate faster.

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Although, honestly, I don’t really do flat water tricks that often. I just enjoy riding waves way more. Even if the wave is only half a meter, just a tiny bump gives you the opportunity to ‘surf ’ when the waves are unsurfable. Sky and I are always trying to improve the boards. And after this season we’ve been mainly nitpicking details in construction, flex, and the feel of the board range.


W E I G H T: 7 2 . 5 K G


H E I G H T: 5 ’ 9 ”

I’m insanely picky with what I want to use and I’m lucky to have Sky. He always tries to make a board that I’m psyched to ride. With the Pro Surf we went through countless prototypes, and finally we went with it. I’ve been really happy to see the rest of the wave team choosing to ride the Pro Surf when there are waves…

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Pro T ips: POV cam s with S t even Akke rsdij k


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With the ever increasing amount of action cameras being sold, we see a higher amount of “self-made” content on the web. Although it’s often easy to shoot this content, it can be very hard to get a good, clean, image out of the action cameras. So here we go with a few tips from my experience.

MOUNTING OPTIONS First up, there are a lot of ways to mount the camera. Each of these mounts of course have upsides and downsides. I don’t recommend using only one shot for the entire video as this just gets boring. Mix it up and get creative! Line Mount. The classic! When shooting from straight above, the pictures can be boring, but the frame really comes to life when you keep your kite a bit lower so you can see some background in the frame. These shots work nicely when kiting in tropical destinations or in the waves. There are multiple versions on the market, some have elastics and others like the Beastmount work without. Try to get one where the camera is mounted between your lines for better stability. Selfie Stick. A really fun accessory to use is a selfie stick. I only recommend using this in easy conditions, as it can be very tricky to hold


the stick and steer the kite with one hand. Especially on busy days.

Mouth Mount. Another very simple but nice way to film or make pictures is by simply biting into the floater or getting a “mouth mount”. There are a lot of fancy mounts on the market in which you can bite and they keep the cam in front of your mouth filming in a forward position. The good part about this way of shooting is that you have both hands free, and you can also easily switch the camera on and off. Next to that you can take it in your hand facing yourself for the classic selfie shot!

MAKING THE MOST OF IT… Lens angle. Most action cameras (like the TomTom Bandit and the GoPro Hero) have a very wide angle lens. With this lens you’ll be sure to get all the action in the frame, but the problem is that the action is often too far away. If you’re shooting someone else, then one way to make sure you fill the entire frame with the action is to get very close. This will make for a very dynamic shot, but can also put the filmer in a dangerous position! Try using a selfie stick to get closer to the subject without putting yourself in harm’s way. Another option is to use a less wide angle. Most cameras have an option for this in the settings. This can also be very useful when you put the camera high in the kite’s lines.


Clear shots. A common problem with action cameras is annoying water drops on the lens. These can totally ruin a shot. It might sound weird, but licking the lens of the camera often helps. Just make sure to dip the lens in the water after licking it before your next shot. Other options before your session are using a freshly cut potato and rubbing this on the lens, or using a little baby shampoo. Post-production. When filming you usually end up with a hard drive of footage, and there’s usually only a handful of shots you can actually use. Of course you don’t want to spend hours in front of the computer looking through your footage so, with the TomTom Bandit I use, they’ve built some meters into the camera that register movements. If there is a peak

in the speed or G-Forces the camera will automatically highlight that part of the footage for easier review and editing. Next to that you can pull some of these stats into your footage. After you’ve shot all of this footage you of course want to make sure you edit it in a nice way. Most of the pictures are fairly “flat” when you pull them off the camera. With a good photo editing program it can be very easy to boost the colors, contrast and overall look of the picture. 50 | TheKiteMag

Photo: Klaus Schulz | Model: Sabrina A. Parisi

d n o y e b n . . o . i t a t c e p ex


Sizes 5 / 7 / 9 / 11 / 13 / 15 LW / 18 LW Airstyle, Freeride, Hydrofoil

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SENSI GRAVES What’s the coolest move you can do on roller blades?


YOURI ZOON Hannah Montana, I see you’re doing a lot of calisthenics workouts. Is that to keep yourself in shape or more to relax? Or both maybe?


Hmmm. I guess a front flip with a 180.


I love learning new skills, when it’s not windy I’m always searching for something else I can push myself in. I crave sports, and the good endorphins they give off. I have really got into calisthenics workouts (body weight training) as it builds the most efficient kind of muscle. Functional movements are so much better than the average monotonous gym workout with isolated body motions so it’s great conditioning for kitesurfing. In calisthenics you are constantly learning new tricks and moves like in kiting so it feels less like a workout and just a lot of fun! And if you’re having fun you’ll work out for a lot longer and have the best results.


LUKE WHITESIDE One time in Turkey we made a funny music video to Nirvana with the guys at Radical Kitesurfing. You were a natural! If you could be any singer in the world who would it be?


Ha! I am literally the worst singer ever! So bad, in fact, my Dad banned me from ever singing out loud! However, I do think I excelled in miming in the Turkey Nirvana video. That was very funny! But if I could be any singer in the world I think it would have to be Beyoncé.


POLLY CRATHORNE Do you reckon there is space for women to compete for a King (or Queen) of the Air title?


Definitely, us girls can go big and radical too! It’s about time we showed the boys how it’s done. I think it would be a very good thing to have a ‘Queen of the Air’.


JULIAN WISKEMANN (BEST PR) Do you have any rituals before your sessions, like listening to a certain tune that gets you pumped?


Yes, firstly I like to eat chocolate – very important! Secondly I like to do a bit of a warm up on the beach before kiting, so I am nice and hyper for when my sugar high hits.


MANUELA JUNGO I remember that you told me a while back that you can’t get a six pack. Look at you now! What is your secret?!


Well, I think that’s because I haven’t been on a trip with you for a while! Your cooked dinners are too yummy and more-ish, I just keep eating. You and I had a good deal going on a Brazil trip where you cooked all the meals and I was the cleaner. It was great! But not for my six pack.


SAM MEDYSKY If it wasn’t kiteboarding what would you be doing?


I think I would have my own painting and decorating/interior design business. This was the route I was going down before the kitesurfing got serious. I also had a very big passion for rollerblading/inline skating so maybe I would have been a professional skater… But I’m stoked to be kiting!
















A I R T O N C O Z Z O L I N O ´ S D A I LY W O R K W E A R


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By Tom Court

Jibbing a 9 step set handrail out in Indonesia whilst filming the ‘Weekend Wanderlust’ clip and the Indonesia section of the FRP3 movie. 56 | TheKiteMag

The Freeride Project has always been based around the idea that most sports are driven at their core by people having fun, a basic concept. Riding with mates and pushing yourself to learn in your own time is what drives the passion to ride. That has always been my motivation in kiteboarding: the love of the sport and the lifestyle, the people and places that it grants me access to. Caring for that development, I wanted to be part of creating a legitimate ‘freeride' aspect to kiteboarding that helped to motivate other people, getting them into the sport without the pressure of competition, with the added inspiration of creativity that comes with making a movie and representing kiteboarding how I thought it should be seen.

The concept

Our 'Freeride Project' started back in 2011 out in Australia with James Boulding and Sam Light. We were staying together and had some time on our hands and, having decided to devote our year to living the kiteboarding dream and riding as much as we could in the process, riding was our focus but filming was the drive and motivation. We set the wheels in motion in Perth at the start of 2011 and once we had that section in the bag and the ‘Down Under Achievers’ edit dusted, the larger project snowballed from there. When Aaron Hadlow got onboard for the next trip to the Dominican Republic, we had a solid crew that would stand to set the FRP in stone from there on out. We could all travel together, film, ride and it was this that brought us together and the crew mentality that made the project possible. We all took time away from events, contests and other obligations to document what we were up to for that year, to truly make our visions a reality. That is how the idea started over six years ago and has now progressed to be a long standing concept that has stayed with us as riders and friends over the years. Making a movie, on the surface, seems like a fairly simple concept. However it is only really when you start to consider the finer details of the endeavor that you can understand exactly what it takes to line up different schedules, events, flights, accommodation, cars, and video/ photo equipment to be in one place with a consistent forecast for sun and strong wind, that you truly comprehend how complex it can be. Added to that, all four of us have been known to be very unorganized kiteboarders who have developed over the years to now be complete with demanding (!) girlfriends, which adds another layer to the complexity of productions. So, needless to say, scheduling was a decisive factor in steering the direction of our movies.

The first production almost fell together, with the free time that we had set aside used up on trips specifically for filming, writing travel stories to expose the locations and discovering new spots to shoot on each trip. We were filming on what were the latest cameras at the time, the Canon 7D and 5D DSLR’s that had started to revolutionize cinematography. Using the nice Canon lenses that we already had added production value to the movie and helped to create atmosphere and deliver crisp HD footage that would be good for our online distribution. After spending around a month editing the first movie, it was time to take some time out. Although it is a labor of love to live, ride, travel, film and produce a movie like this in all of those amazing places, it can still take its toll. Constantly traveling, living out of a bag, and devoting time and passion to kiteboarding can sometimes be harder than it sounds. The first movie was a real tester for us as it was difficult to know if we could produce a good quality film, with so many elements to consider from the narrative, music, quality, edit and distribution. However once the edit was polished off (between James and myself ), we released it. That really felt like a big hurdle, and the relief was pretty gratifying when the movie received good feedback from the melting pot of public opinion online. So, the first hurdle had been jumped and it wasn't long before we all started thinking about a 2nd movie. This time we were going into it with the knowledge that it was possible and also with knowledge of the realities of the time and effort required in order to make it a success. It was just a case of convincing our sponsors that it was a good idea to spend our time flying and traveling without focusing on competition, and traveling with riders from different brands in order to film a movie project that we would be giving away for free. Easier said than done, but an idea that would soon prove to become the future of modern marketing!

Round 2

The start of FRP2 happened naturally as we all converged at the start of 2013 out in Cape Town. All flying in from various trips, South Africa has become an industry meeting point in January and it is capped off by the ever prestigious kite contest: the King of the Air. So it was a perfect place to start! This time around James had bitten the bullet and stepped up the game by purchasing a Sony FS700 video camera. A big step away from the DSLR cameras that we had used for project one and a step that would take our production quality to that next level. An investment at that

time of upwards of €9,000 was a big commitment to the cause and a development of his own film productions. Filming now more than ever has become about keeping up with the latest developments in technology. Although nothing will ever replace creative flair, having the latest frame rates, definitions and sizes open new doors to editing and production value makes a big difference. We still relied on the 7 and 5D for second angles, water housing shots and lifestyle as they are small and easy to use, but capturing the sport itself would change forever as the introduction of higher frame rates (Sony FS700 does up to 800fps) would show the sport and its fast tricks in a whole different light. This was the creative motivationthat we needed to start work on the second Freeride Project. Sam, Aaron, James and myself pulled a few days filming together, heading off up the South African coast to Langabaan or driving to Whitsands to score some wind and good conditions to ride. Once we had stacked a few clips, we had the momentum to continue filming all through the time that we were in South Africa as well as during the King of the Air contest. So that was a solid start to the FRP2. The year rolled on from there and the focus of a movie project was enough to keep our schedules together. To ensure that we scored the shots that we wanted, we really focused on refining the style of riding that we were portraying, pushing much harder in the ‘wakestyle’ direction as this allowed the most creativity; both for filming and riding. We started concentrating on the trips that linked in with wakestyle events, contests or rail parks. Trips that enabled us to film what we all really wanted to see develop, so riding with boots and hitting features and delivering something different to what had come before. It probably wasn't until we were all in Russia that we knew that we had the makings of another movie. All the planning in the world doesn't help unless at the end of the day you get the best footage that you can, or at least some shots that hold up to the creative expectations that you have at the start of the project. When we rolled into Blaga, Russia, surrounded by people that didn't speak English, and we pulled up to the kite spot – a whole kite park setup, hundreds of kiters riding and steady light wind – we knew that this would round off the FRP2 with just the right amount of travel, adventure and different kiteboarding action. Not many people had even visited this spot, let alone filmed it, and this was the development that we had all hoped to see from a movie. A true progression in the sport as we knew it at the time. TheKiteMag | 57


The NKB crew out in Hatteras as Hadlow Joins the North team in 2014

FS700 on the job

Full FRP podium finnish out in Russia as we where filming for the second movie

Skating in Hood River: it has alway been about all the sports we do!

Bean bag chilling. Windtown, Langabaan

Hadlow on the beers at the start of 2013 in Cape Town

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Setting up the new North Dice out in Cape Hatteras to shoot a section with Toby Bromwich

Let loose

When you have been caught up in travel, concentrating on stacking clips for an entire year, it is easy to forget that eventually all of that footage will need sorting, marking, storyboarding and editing, with a loose story strung together from the countless hours of ‘lifestyle’ filming that was scattered across hard drives all over the world. So, start organized and continue as you mean to go on! Landing back in the UK at the end of 2013 I had set aside the festive period to complete the edit. Leaving me about a month in front of the computer to get the second FRP constructed, time lined and set to music. James had the intro, linking sections and some other story elements on his list, and we continued to work remotely together sending edits and ideas back and forth. Eventually we had a finished product ready for upload and distribution… By far the scariest bit of making a full movie is releasing it! Editing it seems like a hurdle, when you first approach that mountain of footage, a never ending stack of clips, choosing

over 20 tracks to use and endless cuts that change and effect the feel and flow of the edit, but that is nothing compared to the feeling that comes when you are ready to release that time, effort, passion and work to the world.

The next chapter

The one truly amazing thing about video production is that it is always changing over time – it is an ever evolving creative art. No two shots are the same and no two edits will ever match. This is exciting for the future as it means that we will keep seeing new things: different angles, bigger tricks and more details. This change was reflected as I moved onto FRP3. It felt like I was reacting to a change in video at the time. Starting the year and the project, I started my #courtintheact series on my YouTube channel, reacting to the ever demanding need for social media updates and the sort of ‘snapchat’ production that is becoming ever more prevalent. The idea was that I would drop an edit each month with what I got up to: kiteboarding, action, projects and events, shot mostly in POV

using GoPro with a smattering of high quality production shots taken with the new Sony FS700 that I had invested in at the start of the year. I wanted to reflect the growing trend of POV filming; instant gratification footage and regular updates whilst still staying true to the longer format movies that are increasingly rare. This concept was meant to ease the filming pressure, whilst ensuring that I would get enough content to produce a full movie. Nothing was guaranteed though, so the movie project was always on a back seat until the year was through and I knew the edit would be possible. In short, the movie was at the mercy of my schedule and I was hoping that this would lead to enough time rolling with the crew! Developing the FRP concept was only natural, changing the filming styles over time and allowing the idea to take us to different places, keep expanding and exploring the world with a kite. As 2015 kicked off and I started to film with another project in the back of my mind we again found ourselves in Cape Town. A familiar place to build the foundations of a project that had set all

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Riding shotgun with Craig Cunningham as we chase Aaron down mid shoot

our lives on a path to finding better conditions, exploring more spots and pushing to land bigger tricks. The biggest change this time around was in our support, as Aaron Hadlow had changed sponsors to North and James had also switched from Liquid Force to Cabrinha. These small factors ended up having an inevitable impact on our schedules. As we left Cape Town with shots in the bag, we all went off on our different planes to different places with no clear idea where we would see each other again. As the year took flight, trips started to fly by. I found myself doing some quite different trips – the kind that you only dream about on those rainy days at home. On a boat in the Caribbean with Matchu Lopes, Tom Hebert and Colleen Carroll riding the beautiful blue waters of the Grenadines and traveling to Indonesia to explore a private island and develop the un-touched kite spots with Sophie Mathews.

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Making the most of the good light, sometimes filming means early mornings and late evenings!

These then became sections, much less geared towards technical riding and more towards the sort of kiteboarding lifestyle that is now developing across the globe as the sport expands. I endeavored to link up with the crew in the usual spots like in Cape Hatteras for the Triple-S contest, however the lack of wind put a dampener on riding plans. I rode and filmed a bit with Craig Cunningham some days after the event, and we managed to piece together a section that would add to the story. However it wasn't until I pulled the trigger on the final Brazil trip to link up with Hadlow, Craig, Noè Font and Jerome Cloetens that the project was rounded off in style… So what have I learnt? Well, producing a kiteboarding movie like the Freeride Projects is a journey, both of faith and commitment that will inevitably take you more time, energy, sweat and tears than you

could ever plan for. You have to be totally committed to the cause, love what you are doing and have a deep passion for the sport and the videography or you will never get to the end. Changing with the times is important, then staying up to date with the latest techniques, products and features is what will set you apart from the rest. Having a good crew around you will always help to make what at first seems impossible a reality. If you manage to line all those things up, pull off the year of your dreams, document it as you go, keep organized and invest in your own convictions, then there is no telling how far your dream project can take you, or where it will lead in the future!


Top row left: The 2015 crew out in Cape Hatteras after a day on the water Top row right: James quick drawing his big lens 2nd row left: UK crew and lovely ladies after a magic sunset session in Whitsand SA 3rd row left: Back stage in the Grenadines with Castle Productions 3rd row right: A Triple-S FRP podium, nothing quite like that feeling! Bottom row left: Jame’s other side about to make an appearance (FRANK!)

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AXIS Liberty Designed to get you up, riding, and then nailing your first serious moves, the Liberty brings AXIS’s renowned build quality to ensure that your riding progresses as quickly as it possibly can. The flatter rocker line ensures you’ll be up on the plane with minimal fuss, and the softer flex ensures that your knees won’t take a battering as the kiteboarding world opens up before you…

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Zeeko Notus AIR The bods at Zeeko came off very well in our foil test – they had one of the very best alu foils in the entire test no less. So the fact they have also turned their hand to creating a kite with foilers as the target market should definitely get your attention…This is a superefficient one strut kite and now comes with their ERA (Easy Relaunching Assistant) for when things get too light even for foiling.

EPIC Renegade Infinity V4 Epic’s light wind specific kite is the king of stealthy performance. So stealthy in fact, that Epic don’t even let us know the exact size… But, coming in to V4 it’s clearly doing something right. And V4 brings with it a 15% improvement in turning speed as well as improved lift and upwind performance. Epic recommend their “Xtend Control Bar” to ensure maximum control over their lightwind monster.

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Blade Fat Lady The perfect kite for those light wind days. The 4th generation Fat Lady has improved upwind performance to help you to maximize your trick count. It also enables you to continue laying down some of your top end tricks thanks to its quickturning and responsive performance. Your session is never over with this Fat Lady. Even if she sings…

Best Roca Lightwind Available in 14 and 17m, the Roca is a lightwind beast designed with those seabreeze afternoons in mind… But don’t be fooled: even if the weather is mellow, you can still expect plenty of performance to continue boosting, and you’ll still power upwind on the Roca – it’s no slouch…

RRD Vision The Vision has been in the RRD range for 6 years when it rocked up as a beginner’s all-rounder. The thing was: it turned out that everyone loved it! Since then it has embraced the ‘all terrain’ attitude and proven itself as an incredibly fun kite to fly with attributes that appeal to any kiter who is looking to keep things simple but not at the expense of performance.

Cabrinha Apollo No, your eyes do not deceive you: this really is in insanely high aspect new kite from Cabrinha. Delivering super-efficient power delivery and insane upwind performance, the Apollo is a foiler’s dream or perfect for anyone looking for maximum lightwind performance or for the kind of lofty jumps that give you plenty of time to take in the scenery.

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SU2 Proseries The Proseries is an epic all-round offering from SU2 which borrows from the hyperbolic paraboloid: the perfect geometric shape. This is a super-smooth, incredibly light board and is designed to give you maximum control in flat water or in chop, with the 2mm extra thin rails enabling you to hold your speed and really carve through your turns…

Ozone Chrono V2 Ozone’s design goal when stepping up to improve the top-of-class Chrono was to take the original Chrono’s high performance characteristics and make it easier to use for riders looking for all-round performance in any conditions, on any surface. The result? The Chrono V2 is more stable and easier to inflate, and brings high performance characteristics to everyday competent riders. It’s fair to say that the initial feedback, as well as results around the racetrack, have been very positive.

CORE GTS4 The GTS3 blew a few minds and proved that you could have an all-round kite that really could turn the power up to 11. We know that Core don’t rush their releases and take the time to get it right, so the GTS4 has been released with a lot of hype: guaranteed to deliver in waves, flat water or 30 meters up, hucking you into a megaloop….

Slingshot Rally 2017 At the heart of Slingshot’s first 2017 kit release is one of their most iconic kites: the Rally. Its compact pulleyless bridle delivers precision turning and it can be finetuned to match your personal style. This is kiteboarding versatility at its finest and you can expect it to turn on for you whatever the conditions and whatever your style…

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You’ve probably heard of Barbados, Aruba and Puerto Rico. They’re all solid Caribbean destinations to escape the treachery of a North American or European winter. But if you look a little deeper, there are lesser-known Caribbean treasures that await. One such nugget is St. Kitts and Nevis… Words and photos: Mark Moore

Sounds delightful. It is. It’s part of the West Indies, so the vibe is unpretentious. This place is a far cry from the European Caribbean and its snobby $12 coffees and scones. Kitts is Rasta and mellow, with stunning vistas and volcanic peaks. So, St. Kitts OR Nevis? It has to be both. St. Kitts is the main island with most of the shops and nightlife. There are two medical schools and a veterinary school on the island and the ratio of girls to guys is 3:1. So if you’re a single guy looking for the ultimate kite destination then St. Kitts should have just leapfrogged most other destinations and made it to the top of your list… 68 | TheKiteMag

Then you also need to take the 30 minute ferry ride over to Nevis. It’s more expensive to stay over there, so just go for the day. There is a nice flatwater spot just east of the airport then after kiting check out Sunshine’s bar for a “Killer Bee”. It’s pretty rummy… So, tell all – where are the best kite spots?! Ah, I can’t tell too much… But I would say check out Turtle Beach and North Frigate Bay. Then there really are just heaps of spots: just drive around and prepare to be amazed. You’ll definitely need a rental car though as public transport is basically nonexistent. Can the wind be a bit sketchy? No, not with the fabulous Caribbean trade winds. From early November through to July you can expect five to six days a week



of 13-22 knots. There is a reverse thermal effect mid-day, so on the marginal days, you’re better off getting up early and riding the last few hours of daylight. Anything clever to say about wind density? It’s funny you mention that – yes, actually you should keep in mind that the Caribbean wind is light and fluffy, lacking the density of northern spots. Consequently, strapless guys should bring 8, 10, 12. Twin tippers: 9, 12, 15. Any funny monkey stories? Actually, yes. While we were there we babysat my buddy’s monkey for a few days. It wore a diaper that had to be changed a few times a day. One of us would hold him down, remove the diaper and the other would spray him down with a hose and then put a new diaper on him. He’d run around the room smashing bananas all over the beds and curtains and eat our toothpaste and our candy. You don’t get that in Tarifa.

You need to fly into St. Kitts’ Robert L Bradshaw International Airport which is on the northern outskirts of Basseterre. It is served by most of the main US airlines so if you are coming from Europe then expect an American minibreak en route…


Go to the Royal St. Kitts Hotel and meet this dude named Dennis. He’s classic. You’ll be ‘maximum blessed’.


No, board shorts. If you’re a skeleton you could bring a 1mm neoprene top.


$4 USD / €3.65 / £3

M O S T L I K E LY T O H E A R : “Everything crisp man? L E A S T L I K E LY T O H E A R : “Traffic was brutal today.”

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i a M

e iT m

Kitesurfing has more than its fair share of ‘high value’ participants, and the sport seems to effortlessly draw in those who aren’t short of a buck or two... Whether this is the nature of the sport of kiteboarding, or the fact that kiting is often at the heart of networking events such as MaiTai is a moot point. But someone who has true ‘core’ credentials and has also managed to find herself right at the very heart of this scene is Susi Mai, who now spends the bulk of her time organizing her MaiTai events. Having spent her childhood ripping it up on the beaches of DR, it’s fair to say that it’s been quite a trip from then to now. Brian Wheeler sat her down to find out exactly what she is up to nowadays, and to see just how she got there... TheKiteMag | 71


d l r o w e h t g n i k a M e c a l p r e t t e ab

Whether you’ve been kiting for ages or you’re new to the sport, chances are you’ve heard of Susi Mai (and if not, you really should know who she is). One of the ‘original’ crew of kiters to begin getting mainstream recognition, Susi kills it on the water and has probably done more for the sport than any other kiter out there. As co-founder and President of MaiTai Global – a spectacular community of athletes, innovators and entrepreneurs – Susi has transformed her love for kiteboarding into making the world a better place (while still logging quality time on the water). Last year Susi and the MaiTai community demonstrated the kiting community at its finest, raising nearly a quarter million dollars to help fellowkiter Ruben Lenten get the best medical care possible

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when he was in need. And this past November, I witnessed the MaiTai magic firsthand at The Ocean Gala (presented by MaiTai and Ocean Elders), where Sir Richard Branson delivered an inspiring keynote speech, and in just a couple of hours the event raised $600,000 in the name of protecting the ocean. Additionally, a recent MaiTai Expedition helped the British Virgin Islands become a shark sanctuary. The list of accomplishments that Susi helped make happen could go on and on, which is to say nothing of the 10 years of epic kiting/networking events that she’s helped create. But rather than ramble on about all the legendary stuff she has done or what a remarkable person she is, let’s talk to Susi herself…

Mai Tai 2013

Mai Tai 2014

Mai Tai 2013

Mai Tai 2014

Mai Tai 2013

Mai Tai 2014

Mai Tai 2013

Mai Tai 2014


BW: When did you get into kiteboarding? Susi: I was on the beach in Cabarete when kiteboarding started coming around, in 2002 we watched our first contest, and then 2003 I competed for the first time. BW: Did you windsurf before that? Susi: No, my dad was a windsurfer but I never did it, I never wanted to. I think probably because he wanted me to! My dad is a shaper now, he makes kiteboards. He’s been making them for a while — a secret life. BW: Do you kite with your dad when you’re back home in the Dominican Republic? Susi: Yeah, he kites now with me. It’s pretty fun. He moved here for windsurfing because he was a windsurfer. That was the whole reason. So we just ended up living in a windy place. BW: Your career has evolved in a very unique direction the last few years… going from traditional professional kiteboarder to… Well, how would you define yourself now? Susi: I guess I’m just running MaiTai on the side. I’m still a professional kiteboarder, but I spend a lot of my time running the non-profit. But I’m definitely spending a lot of my time running the non-profit. BW: Could you walk me through how MaiTai started and where it’s at now? Susi: Basically, MaiTai started because Bill [Tai] was helping some of his friends to learn to kite and I was invited on a free trip to Maui to help teach some of his buddies how to kite. I went with a friend who lives in the DR that I had met through a mutual friend of Bill’s who bought a hotel down in Cabarete. So I went to Maui and that’s kind of how it started. Then things moved on from there and this year we’re actually going to be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of MaiTai Maui. Back in that day… it just ended up that his friends were the Twitter people, the Google people, and all these tech guys. At first we were only 20 or 30 people, but we didn’t really fit in any of the venues in Maui once we got past 50, so Bill started to throw his secretary at it to do some bookings for tables and stuff like that, and that then evolved into even more attendees! So the thing grew even more and we had to step in and start organizing it properly like an event. So that’s how it all happened; organically, very naturally, and we didn’t really plan on having this whole thing go around it.

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" . n u f y t t e r p "It's


BW: So you started with one event in Maui, and how many events do you have now? Susi: Yeah, we started with one event and we got so much demand from so many people around the world that we figured we could do more of these. The first one we did outside the Maui event was the snowkiting event in Utah —it was close for everybody and people were going on long snowkite weekends with Bill. That kept getting bigger, and then we started coming to my hometown of Cabarete in DR, which is one of the main headline events now. We turned MaiTai into a non-profit over two years ago so we’ve been operating under that. We’ve been doing these smaller versions of MaiTai that are called MaiTai Expeditions, which are smaller trips with a cause. More of an adventure than a full-blown conference type of thing. But all in all, we have about 14 events this year, including things like the Extreme Tech Challenge, which is one of our new initiatives and has been going really well. BW: Who do you look up to businesswise? Is there anybody that inspires you in terms of the creativity and passion that you have put into MaiTai? Susi: I’ve always been very grateful that I got to spend so much time with Pete Cabrinha, one of my big influences. You know, that was a big big chapter of my life and I learned so many things there, that are kind of woven through MaiTai, through the culture. There’s just a lot of, I guess a lot of his work still. You know, I get really freaked out about making sure everything looks a certain way, because its stuff I learned from Pete and its very good stuff. I’ve always admired the way that he has been able to run his company. So that’s one person. Then obviously it’s pretty amazing to be able to hang out around people like Richard Branson who are very inspiring in the way that they also run their things. A big part of it is just because of the community, and everyone is just super stoked about MaiTai. Bill gets really excited because other people get really excited, and then if Bill’s excited I get excited! So I don’t think it’s just one person driving it. I think it’s a collective passion. BW: Can you tell me a bit about the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC)? Susi: We’ve always been in that situation where if we grow the events we’re going to ruin it with too many people, or we’ll make more money for a minute with a higher cost, but then we’re only going to get one class of people, which isn’t really the idea behind MaiTai. So we had to find a way 76 | TheKiteMag

of generating cash that was unrelated to MaiTai, that won’t ruin the actual feel of it. Basically the Extreme Tech Challenge was something that Bill really believed in and I think that was the first time MaiTai made any profit, which went straight into setting up XTC. We just completed year two of XTC. It was awesome, and people were super stoked. We had over 1,000 entries this year. We were even in the centerfold at CES [the Consumer Electronics Show] sent out to like 100,000 people before the event in Vegas. So we have the CES affiliation, we have the Branson affiliation. He likes that we are coming to his island and bringing something that he enjoys. He enjoys meeting these entrepreneurs, he invests in a bunch of the XTC companies. We also had a large part of the proceeds from the XTC go to the BVI Foundation, which takes care of some of the environmental and education issues. We just released a video of the recap and there’s going to be an influencer video coming out with some of last year’s XTC finalists talking about the impact that being part of the contest had for their growth… some of them had bigger seed rounds, or financing rounds because they were part of XTC and got all that visibility. So I feel like XTC is creating its own community, but it’s a lot more business than the MaiTai community. BW: When you have the XTC event on Necker is there kiting related to that? Susi: Yeah. We kite all the time! That’s a MaiTai. I booked the whole island for a week, and we do a MaiTai, and then on the last day of the MaiTai booking, we run the XTC. XTC opens up the doors for 100 extra people, with them being on the island for the day. Normally the capacity of the island is 45 guests. For XTC we have a 150-person dinner. BW: What is it like to get on the water now that you’re so busy? Susi: It’s funny, I’ve been getting on the water a lot more recently now that we’ve built a team. We have 10 people doing MaiTai stuff. So it’s been taking off a lot of the stress. I used to run and organize it just by myself. So it’s been nice to get a little help. At the end of the day, the cool thing for me is that I’m not doing a job that takes me away from kiting, because every MaiTai revolves around kiting. Now that I’m not running around, chasing caterers down the beach, I’m actually getting on the water at these events because I have staff. I’m actually getting to kite with everybody which everyone is super stoked about.

Mai Tai 2015

Extreme Tech 2016

Mai Tai 2015

Extreme Tech 2016

Mai Tai 2015

Ocean Gala 2015


BW: What’s going on with Tona? Susi: Still trying to promote Tona. We’re trying to figure out how to put funding together, internally, to have kites made. Really we want to start making Tona kites, hopefully in a year from now. But in the meantime its good, we’ve kind of soft launched my board, we’re making a few tweaks so we’re not going too crazy with it just yet. Once we have version two of it, we will be doing some heavy promoting. We got a few more girls joining the team, riding the board, so that’s cool. But again, Tona is doing the slow and steady organic growth. BW: And your kite sponsor? Susi: I want to kind of wait and see what happens with Tona, because I think it’s just a cleaner message than if I bounce around. I also don’t think I can be valuable to anyone if I’m just going to be there for a year. I’ve been riding a few Wainman kites, because they’re fun to ride. I’m just probably going to end up sponsoring myself with the MaiTai eStore. I think that’s probably what’s going to end up happening, like whoever ends up being more of a contributor to the store and gives us a better deal, that’s whose kites I’m going to be flying! So take myself out of the industry and make myself more selfsufficient. BW: And in terms of media content, are you focusing on that? Susi: Yes, we shot a teaser for a women’s collective watersports movie. So Bruna Kajiya and Hope LeVin and Annabel van Westerop, they all came out to Necker this last trip, and we had a cameraman down there with a RED camera that

we rented. So we shot everything in 4k and we just did a women’s/girls’ shoot on the side. I was running it off of MaiTai, so I had the girls on Necker, we got a bunch of kiting, we did a trip to Anegada. So I want to package that up and call it Eve, run it on Kickstarter and see if we can crowdfund a movie. BW: Looking back, what is your most memorable experience on the water? Susi: Most definitely competing at Red Bull King of the Air in 2005! Ho’okipa was firing, there was a huge swell and we were able to ride out in conditions that are normally only reserved for windsurfers - it was the only comp ever where I wished heats were longer! BW: How has kiting changed for you over the years? Susi: Kiting has been the most important thing in my life, possibly like the most intense love affair I’ve ever had, and it has been through ups and downs. Sometimes it felt a lot like work, especially when training for competitions or riding for photoshoots in sub-ideal conditions. The bottom line though is that I’ve always been in love with kiting, no matter what, and I still enjoy my sessions today just like 10 years ago. BW: When you first started kiting, did you ever imagine you would be where you are today? Susi: Definitely not, I thought I would eventually have to go back to school and get a real job. It’s pretty fascinating to me that I’ve been able to keep it going for as long as I have!

Don't just take our word for it... We asked a few other people what they thought of her.

“How hasn’t Susi influenced the sport? She is a legend!” — Greg Norman Jr. “Susi is a bad ass, confident, strong and sexy little blonde pocket rocket full of awesomeness and energy that will take on any challenge and without a doubt push all the way to the end to make it happen….. She also strangely really really really loves spoons.” — Jesse Richman “Susi’s personality comes through on the water and off. She is always the aggressive optimist and willing to go for broke in everything she does. Very happy taking appropriate, calculated risks to win. We are a great team and we balance each other out. I tend to be more technical and precise, Susi just goes for it. I think through strategy and she 'just executes'. At the Extreme Tech Challenge we did with Sir Richard, on stage I said "Susi is the UI (user interface) on the microprocessor (meaning me).

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She is substantive but adds a lot of style where I typically focus mostly on function and efficiency.” — Bill Tai, Mai-Tai co-founder and Venture Capitalist “I think some people might sell Susi short in business when they hear that she’s a professional kiteboarder, but that works for her because she catches them off-guard when she speaks about her vision for MaiTai Global, her ideas for branding their business and partnership opportunities, and what she’s accomplished alongside partner Bill Tai in creating a successful network of entrepreneurs, investors, and professional athletes with millions of dollars in business ideas cultivated on the beach during their events. Susi’s name may have gotten her in the door, but it’s her brilliance, her talent, her energy that has truly helped to create such a successful global empire of people who hope to make the world a better place.” — Kym McNicholas, Executive Director of Extreme Tech Challenge


"I've always been in love with kiting"



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For a few moments Matchu and Sean stood side-by-side, anticipating the moment of stepping into the sea as another series of waves approached them. The sand under their feet, the temperature of the water, and the wind that blew made them slowly awaken from a rough night’s sleep in our lonely camp in the desert. There was something deep going on there, something intimate. The sky was covered with clouds of a pink hue, it created a grace in the air and I felt overcome by the poetry of the moment. I thought of how the ocean builds relationships and enriches the lives of those who live in it. I felt blessed to be there. Words and photos: Claudio

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Seen from outside, the life of a professional kitesurfer seems to be a fairytale. Who would not enjoy traveling the world, seeing unique places, and enjoying the best possible conditions? Having had the opportunity to witness the intimate life of one of them, I do think it is a dream profession. But nevertheless there are many commitments to be fulfilled, and for a big part of the year I sensed that it can be a bit exhausting. Words such as “classic conditions”, “epic”, and “perfection” are common for those who have the chance to surf regularly at Ponta Preta, Matchu´s home spot, but with his adventurous spirit, Matchu felt the need to look for new horizons, to reconnect with old friends, and to explore. For a long time we had been talking about the possibility of going on a trip together and –when we least expected it – the opportunity appeared. A solid swell was inbound from the southern hemisphere. Combined with winds around 25knots it presented the perfect conditions for a remote spot on another island. It would be a kind of pre-season training trip, a little free time to be in the sand before the marathon of events, travels, and commitments that were coming up in the following months. Although the forecast did not guarantee continuous days of waves, we decided that the wind would be enough for some strapless freestyle sessions to fill our stay. So two days before the swell arrived we decided it would be worth making the trip and started getting ready to leave.

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Matchu got in touch with Sean Guy, a longtime friend, who offered to be our guide for the days we would spend there. I do not know if the two were aware of the importance of the moment, but for me these two guys together had a historic symbolism. On one hand Sean, besides being the host and guide, is also a kiteboarder and has been and a friend of Matchus since childhood. Both of them seem to have natural talents for any activity or sport you can do in the water.Sean inherited his passion for the ocean from his father, Francois Guy, a former world champion windsurfer who came to Cape Verde in the 80s, and is now recognized as the person who introduced aquatic sports in the country. On the other hand, Matchu, one of the great talents of the world of kiteboarding together with Mitu and Airton, all of them the product of the excellent conditions that the islands provide for these sports. The island we went to is one of the archipelago’s largest, but one of the least populated. Covered mostly by the sands of the Sahara desert, it appears to be an inhospitable place where time has stopped. Villages scattered here and there with people who lead a simple life full of serenity that only the desert can provide. As we arrived we could feel the friendliness of the locals, everyone knew Matchu and wanted to help in some way, from the curious journalist who wanted to know what we were doing, through to the fisherman providing wind and weather information: local hospitality at its best.



We decided to stay in the main village while we waited for the swell to arrive. This would give us time to find a rental car, buy some groceries, and to go to an islet just off the coast, which had excellent conditions for some strapless freestyle.The following days were spent on this islet, under the strong sun and with only a few clouds in the sky. We found a small bay where the water had a surreal turquoise color and not a single footprint on the beach, a great start to our trip. The whole time we stayed on the islet we were distracted only by fishermen who passed by on their daily journeys. These were sessions with fun as their common denominator, and shove-its, doubles, and handlepasses were being pulled off like there was no tomorrow. I was struck by the intensity with which Matchu pursues perfection in what he does, rarely getting completely satisfied, even when landing maneuvers that ordinary mortals would consider a great achievement. You can see how such passion leads to him being one of the most progressive talents in the sport.

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Despite the fun freestyle sessions, finding waves was always in the back of our minds. Once back in the village we were told that the swell had arrived in the southernmost islands so, after getting all the gear and food ready, we left for what would be the most amazing part of the trip. The place is not quite a secret, but it’s far enough that you can have a little peace and good kite sessions with only a few people out at the most. To reach the place we passed small villages situated in the middle of nowhere and we felt the curious gaze of the people as we passed by. We soon found out the terrible condition of the rental car, but we did not mind, as long as it could take us (and hopefully bring us back) to our final destination. After a long, slow ride through the rocks and dust, we climbed a small hill that allowed us to see what was ahead of us. A vast dry terrain made the foreground to what appeared to be lines of waves. A fertile oasis, which provided water and shade for the weary, looked as if a painting had been placed in front of the ocean. It was the perfect refuge for those who for some reason had gone there to stay.


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The waves broke on a huge slab that was insanely shallow at low tide. Most of them were small waves closing out next to the rocks and – to make matters worse – the wind was offshore. It wasn’t quite the conditions we had been expecting, but it was enough for Matchu, who decided he would enjoy the evening sun and catch some waves. While in the water, he noticed the sets started getting better, as if announcing that the best was yet to come. With so much beauty around us, we were happy to witness one of the most dramatic sunsets we had ever seen, something that only the desert solitude can provide.

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Sitting around a bonfire, we talked about a fisherman who lived there, and the number of times he must have been lucky enough to see the wave at its best. We wondered if we would have the good fortune to wake up to one of those days at dawn. We didn’t have to wait too long. Right before the first light, sets of up to two meters appeared and provided solid walls for Matchu to draw his stylish lines on. Perhaps it is because of his experience with surfing before kitesurfing that has had him develop a unique line with a mix of strength and graciousness. There were also other options available, a multitude of waves to be discovered on a coast with something new at every turn. However, the best place seemed to be right where we were. The wind was still offshore, not the best direction for the spot, but somehow he could make the most of the conditions in a difficult wave to surf, with unpredictable sections which made it seem impossible to fit into the tubes. He miraculously managed to find the right timing to tuck in under the lip, and even more so, the right timing to exit through chandeliers and closeouts. He surfed alone for quite a long time until other kitesurfers began to arrive. We could see how everyone was amazed by Matchu´s skill level and his relationship with the waves. After a while they finally decided to join him, and


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words & photography By leo houlding

We’re lucky enough to read a lot of great kite tales here at TheKiteMag, but it is pretty rare to have something drop into our inbox that really blows your mind and leaves you sat, staring at your screen for a while after you’ve finished just thinking: Wow. This is one of those… Words and photos: Leo Houlding The day began with a flying start, literally. With 1400 kilometers of our mission behind us and 200 kilometers to go we had everything to play for to catch the once weekly flight south from our isolated destination in two days’ time. With a steep, 1600 meter decent to make from the ice cap down to the frozen fjord, followed by a six hour dog sled ride to town and with the wind forecast to drop at midday it looked like we’d be spending a week learning to ice fish with the local Inuit in the world’s third most northerly town – Qaanaaq in NW Greenland. By now – 18 days into icecap life – we were well drilled in our morning ritual, having woken at 4am. We were caffeinated, fed, packed and ready to ride within an hour and a half. The icy katabatic easterly, which is much stronger at night, was still in full force blowing a steady 18-20 knots. It was forecast to deteriorate gradually until dropping off completely, so we opted to start out overpowered on the Ozone 15m Chrono V2’s on 65m lines so as to save critical time on kite changes. We were each hauling 120 kilograms in a pair of sledges called ‘pulks’, rafted together side by side, trailing

behind us on 30m ‘trace’. We were ready for take off. My partner for the mission, Bruce Corrie, hadn’t been on a serious expedition before, nor anywhere nearly so remote, but was a vastly experienced kiter and one of the UK’s original snowkiters having started out 25 years ago on the predecessor of modern snowkites, the “Up-Ski”. Over the last few winters it was Bruce who’d mentored me from having not flown a kite since childhood to being a competent expedition snowkiter. Well, reasonably competent…

The 24k trip To kite from Narsaq at the southern end of Greenland to Qaanaaq in the NW corner covers around 2400 kilometers and almost the full length of the world’s largest island. It takes around 40 days. North Atlantic low pressure systems dominate the southerly third of the journey creating unstable, unpredictable, unpleasant kiting conditions, so you need to allow around 20 days for this first 800 kilometer section. Thankfully, having got through this, once you reach the Arctic circle at latitude 67˚N, the prevailing Greenlandic high pressure system dominates the weather patterns and usually creates idyllic kiting conditions in the spring / summer season. Cold, clear, sunny skies, predictable katabatic easterly winds and a seemingly endless, featureless ice cap of terrain to traverse without obstacle, meaning that allowing 20 days for the remaining 1600 kilometers ought to be sufficient.

At home on the vast, featureless landscape of the Greenlandic icecap; the best expedition snow kiting terrain on Earth.

Conveniently, this classic West to East Greenland ski traverse which is ever popular with Norwegian cross country skiers starts at almost precisely the latitude of a small place called Kangerlussuq (Kanger) which, even more conveniently, happens to be home to the only runway in West Greenland capable of landing wide bodied jets thanks to a US airbase left over from the war. This makes it the primary aviation hub for the country and it is easily accessible on flights from Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, of which Greenland is a protectorate. Having made your way to Kanger it is possible to man-haul along the classic ski route for some 100 kilometers up through a maze of ice falls, crevasses and melt water rivers onto the icecap through terrain unsuitable for kiting. Alternatively it is possible to charter the massive Sikorysky S61 flying bus of a helicopter stationed in Kanger for a 90 minute hop up onto the icecap, saving a week or so of struggle – albeit at considerable expense… Renowned Norwegian kiter Ronny Finsas, a chef by trade, calls this route The Greenland Tenderloin: the prime cut of snowkiting’s finest fillet. Kiting this 1600 km route was to be our objective.

A kite convert It was whilst man-hauling loads during a climbing expedition in Antarctica that my curiosity about snowkiting was born. Although I like to think of myself as an aficionado of hardcore adventure (my chosen poison is big-wall climbing, spending weeks climbing the tallest cliffs on Earth often in the most remote, hostile places which entails a degree of suffering and is certainly no picnic,) ‘traditional’ long distance polar travel had never appealed. Spending months, freezing, working your arse off all day long dragging a massive load into a bleak landscape always appeared way too much like hard work and sits at the extreme end of the endurance/ endorphin adventure spectrum, far from my preferred action/ adrenalin realm. Whilst researching my Antarctic expedition I’d stumbled across tales of some seriously nu-skool, kite powered polar adventures. For example Ronny, the Chef, had kited solo 1130 kilometers from the South Pole to the Antarctic coast in a record five days – a journey that normally takes people 50 in the other direction! Then there was Micheal Charavin and Cornelius Storhm who hold the unsupported snowkite distance record: 5067 kilometers in 58 days around Greenland. And Eric McNair-Landry and Sebastien Copeland who kited an astonishing 595 kilometers in 24 hours in NW Greenland, still the one day record. These are mind blowing distances covered at great speed with large amounts of kit in truly remote environments, without support of any kind. Discovering this brave new world of wind powered adventure really captured my imagination. Perhaps this relatively new form of polar travel could allow access to mountain ranges in the polar regions previously beyond the reach of independent expeditions? I had found Antarctica utterly enthralling and vowed to one day return, next time as a fully fledged expedition snowkiter. A skill set that has been far more difficult to attain than I anticipated.

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Training at home Close to where Bruce and I live in the Lake District in the UK we have some awesome kitesurf spots. However, as a full time professional rock climber, expedition leader and TV adventurer (as well as husband and recent father) time has become increasingly short in supply so my focus has been solely on snowkiting, leaving time to focus on my primary sports and making a living outside the winter months. I’ve yet to launch a kite on water. Contrary to what you may imagine, snowkiting on the English Lakes can be exceptional when the rare convergence of necessary conditions align; the elusive hat trick of wind, snow and visibility. These skills are supplemented of course with a detailed knowledge of local spots, accurate forecasting websites and a schedule flexible enough to seize the opportunity when these fickle elements come together. Bruce, now in his early 50s, retired early from a senior accounting position in a FTSE 100 company which enabled him to seize every such opportunity, with an average of 35+ Lakes sessions every season. Whereas with my traveling and personal circumstances I was lucky to get 10. Thankfully over the last couple of winters I’d had the chance to spend a few weeks in the snowkite Mecca of the Hardangervidda plateau in Norway. This is without doubt Europe’s, if not the world’s premier destination thanks to its accessibility, long season and consistent conditions and the tiny communities of Finse and Haugastol are home to some of the world’s best snowkiters and play host to many visiting kite gods every winter. It was here I was privileged to meet some of the most experienced expedition snowkiters alive and where I got the idea for this trip. Names like Ronny Finsas, Paul Landry, Carl Alvey, Michael Chavarin and Bjorn Kaupang mean little to those outside the tiny snowkite bubble but are respected legends within it. Over the mouthwateringly good, all-you-can-eat dinners served every night at the Haugastol hotel, Paul Landry, the renowned Canadian Polar guide who winters there every season, casually suggested the Kangerlussuaq - Qaanaaq route as probably the best long distance snowkite expedition out there. I suggested to Bruce that his kite knowledge and skills combined with my expedition experience and pedigree would make a good core team for such an adventure. Originally we wanted to do it as a team of four. I have found four to be the optimum for safe, successful fun trips to very far away places. However it proved beyond us to find another pair with the time, money, skillsets and desire to join what became known as our elite team of availables. We opted to take it on as a pair and – having balked at the the quote from Air Greenland for the S-61 heli charter – had decided to begin our kite journey with a long walk up the ice fall. So it was a very pleasant surprise to find out that Ronny was planning to guide the same trip at the same time and, planning to share the helicopter with another Norwegian pair, that there was space in the helicopter for us. We also learned that there would be three other largely Hardangervidda-based teams (all of whom I knew) traveling along the ice cap at the same time, and that most would be carrying the brilliant Delorme Inreach, twoway messaging / satellite tracking device, enabling us all to follow and communicate with one another.

Pulling 135kgs over a soft surface requires being overpowered. We used our awesome custom Ozone Chrono V2 15m with 65m lines for 95% of the 1600km journey.

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The big S61 27 seat flying bus leaves us and our Norwegian friends up on the icecap. We didn’t see anybody for the next 18 days.

Chopper time After long months of meticulous planning assisted no end by Bruce’s accountant mindset we finally found ourselves in the big red helicopter with our Norwegian friends, flying into our adventure. Bruce and I were each equipped with 135 kilograms of first rate equipment and 25 days’ worth of food and fuel. Amongst the treasure trove of desirable polar toys were a matching quiver of very sexy new Ozone kites branded with my long term sponsor Berghaus’s logo that, thankfully, arrived the day before our departure! The big 15m Chrono V2 would prove to be our steed for 95% of the journey (bearing in mind the need to upsize considerably due to the drag of our heavy loads particularly in soft snow). We also carried Frenzy 11m’s, and Access 6m’s for strong / storm winds, both of which proved valuable at certain times. The £20,000 rescue bond that must be held by the Greenlandic government encouraged us to take a very cautious approach to the trip. We carried spares of all crucial systems, including two sets of skis, two tents, four stoves and lots of other redundancy much to the amusement of our Norwegian friends who are born on skis in a cold land and are more minimalist in their style. We waved off the helicopter and said our farewells to our fellow travelers before commencing our long journey immediately in kind conditions. Slightly daunted by the distance ahead, it was in high spirits that we began making swift progress. Although, thanks to the digital age, we were able to track one another, we would not see anybody else for the next 18 days.

The El NiÒo wildcard Were it not for the detailed blog we updated daily with tiresome commitment I would categorize our days on the ice as the exciting start, drawn out middle bit and brilliant ending. Contrary to what we had believed, off the back of an El Niño

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year the 2016 spring season did not quite materialize into the euphoric kite trip of our dreams from the beginning until the very end. The Greenlandic high pressure did not form to its usual strength, allowing low pressure systems typical of the lower latitude to hound us all the way north, typified by changeable wind strength and direction, poor visibility and lots of precipitation, i.e. snow. To our benefit we enjoyed warmer than usual temperatures, a friendly soft, fresh snow surface and winds that allowed us to travel most days. The main drawback was the near constant poor visibility. In a featureless, white landscape, bad visibility takes on a most disorientating guise creating near total whiteout with zero contrast between Earth and sky. It took us a few days to realize that in an environment total devoid of obstacles it was OK to travel even with very limited visibility. Although difficult to keep your bearings, navigation was still easy enough with the aid of a GPS – simply follow the red line of our route preprogrammed on the screen. In fact we didn’t even carry a map! The worst problem was the weird nausea caused by leading the way into the canvas of white, nothing visible but the kite. That and the unexpected onset of sastrugi – ridges of snow created by the wind that gave the knees a pounding on clear days and could really catch you out on the white days. We did enjoy a couple of great sessions in between the mist, the most memorable a sublime 200 kilometer all nighter through the cold of the Arctic’s midnight sun, where the temperature dropped to below -20˚C and the golden hues of sunset blend seamlessly into the crisp light of dawn under a luminous full moon. However with a few hundred kilometers remaining we began to tire of the manageable but suboptimal conditions after traveling for almost a week with barely a horizon. Novices

Bruce Corrie and Leo Houlding. It wasn’t that cold, Bruce is just shy...

The Katabatic winds are stronger at night, though in May at 70˚N it doesn’t get dark, just cold. -22˚C, fresh snow, full moon, midnight sun - a magical 200km session.

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at this game, we were unsure how long the journey would take so had booked three refundable tickets south from Qaanaaq on consecutive once-weekly flights. We had expected to catch the second but were just about on track for the first when we decided we’d had enough of the crappy visibility and opted to sit tight and wait for more fun conditions. Sure enough the very next day the cloud cleared and a gentle but sufficiently strong wind provided some great kiting, especially with our newly relaxed pace and no longer chasing daily mileage targets. Another fine day with a good distance covered followed and we found ourselves with just 200 kilometers remaining and that first flight south tantalizingly close.

The final furlong For the home run, conditions were looking good, but very windy. I was ready to launch and, with the depower on full, I tentatively tried to tease the big Chrono into the strong breeze. It inverted so I had to release the de-power to right it. The next thing I knew I was three meters in the air with a 120kg anchor holding me down, and being dragged across Bruce’s laid out lines. With no freestyle experience it was more luck than judgement that I landed with surprising grace before being unexpectedly catapulted into the air again! A gnats bollock away from popping the safety release I somehow landed on my skis, wrestled on the de-power and regained control at a flying pace. Bruce soon caught up, and for the next few hours we flew across the icecap enjoying dreamily perfect conditions: strong, steady wind on just the right tack, champagne powder-snow surface and 100% clear, sunny visibility. Racing at full pace against a forecast drop in the wind the kilometers racked up rapidly. The wind grew worryingly

light as we looped our kites for 50 kilometers up a gentle rise in the terrain until, with the edge of the ice cap in our sights, the air currents condensed and intensified speeding us way overpowered towards the end of our journey. As we crested a hill and began to descend, for the second time that day my hand hovered over the release system as my tracker recorded the expedition top speed of 65 kilometers per hour before, to my intense relief, the terrain flattened out, I regained control and landed the kite. Bruce survived the hair-raising descent and we switched directly onto our smallest kites, the tiny, low aspect ratio Access 6m’s felt like handkerchiefs darting around the sky but were welcome in the 25-30 knot wind. The terrain began to reveal features and soon we were off the ice cap in decreasing wind. Passing the frozen lake marked as the kiting end point on our GPS, we ascended a slight hill before dropping the kites for the last time as we observed the striking vista of the frozen fjord far below. We called the Inuit hunters by satellite phone to collect us with their dogs the next day, and began the long descent with heavy loads assisted by unusually good snow cover, reaching the sea ice six hours later with little in reserve after what was without question the best day of snowkiting either of us had ever experienced, or are likely to experience again. Riding into Qaanaaq behind the dogs we had just enough time to dry and pack our kit before reuniting with our Norwegian friends for joyful celebrations on completion of a safe and successful trip. Blasting across the ice cap was most certainly a blast and now I’m more motivated than ever to try to make reality my dream of combining a long polar kite journey with a highly technical unclimbed mountain. Watch this space…

could you do it? Leo thinks that most fit, competent kiters could take this trip on… If you think you fit the bill, here’s how


• • • • • •

Fly from Copenhagen, Denmark to Kangerlussuq, Greenland. We traveled with everything as excess baggage. Get a gun in Kanger (Polar bear hazard). Helicopter - Air Greenland Or walk from Point 660 near Kanger Dog sled team from Qaanaaq Recommend flexible return tickets Qaanaaq - Kanger

red tape • Permits required from GreenlandicGovernment. • Insurance required.

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• Big kites, long lines, Freeze dried food. Try Fuzion, it’s really good!

• Kiting

• Fuel allow 0.3 liters per tent pair per day • For a radio the “Delorme In Reach”, contractual two way messaging / tracking device is a winner • •

Over size ski boot shells by two sizes and get Intuition High Volume liners Radios with microphones were brilliant.

• Lithium AA batteries. They last longer, way lighter and way better in the cold. • Be prepared for -30˚C but expect -5˚C to -20˚C

• Winter camping • Polar navigation • Mountain / Polar first aid • Crevasse rescue

or hire a Guide • Carl Alvey at 360 Expeditions • Ronny Finsas • Paul Landry • Camila Ringvold at

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Colleen Carroll tail pressing her way onto the podium at the action-packed 2016 Wind Voyager Triple-S Invitational.

Judges and announcers intently take in the most competitive Triple-S Open ever, where nearly 30 athletes went head to head for the last-chance invites to the main event. In the end, Manuela Jungo won the women’s spot, while Will Palmer and Aymeric Martin earned entry on the men’s side.

There’s a pretty broad consensus that this year’s Triple S was a classic… The wind was in, all the favorite features were there (as well as some new ones), and the riders were keen to put on a show for their pals and for the cameras. Head Judge of the event, Brian Wheeler, waited for the dust to settle and then caught up with some of the key players to get their reflections on what had gone down. While last year’s Triple-S marked a magical 10-year anniversary, this year’s Wind Voyager Triple-S Invitational featured action, excitement, and progression never before seen in the history of the event. Running from June 4 to 10 at REAL Watersports in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, USA, the event brought together the world’s top park riders from 14 different countries – including five freestyle World Champions: Aaron Hadlow, Christophe Tack, Bruna Kajiya, and Karolina Winkowska, who all received invitations, and Alex Pastor who unexpectedly rocked up and tried to win a last chance invite via the Wind Voyager Triple-S Open, which ran prior to the Invitational. With a solid week of wind on tap, $50,000 up for grabs, and a newly introduced Wind Voyager Triple-S Challenge Series, which incentivized the landing of new tricks in competition, the event proved nothing short of spectacular. (The Challenge Series included a

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$720 bounty to the first woman to land a 720, and $900 and $1,080 to the first athletes to land a 900 or 1080 in competition.) To give you a unique, insider’s look at some of the historic and fascinating aspects of this year’s Wind Voyager Triple-S Invitational, I asked some key players a few questions, which will be shared in the pages ahead. Those interviewed include: 4x reigning Triple-S Champion Sam Light; co-founder and long-time Triple-S competitor Jason Slezak; Rich Sabo, who was on the threshold of making the cut for next year’s event; Toby Bromwich, one of the masterful lensmen capturing the event, who has shot more kite park riding than any other photographer on the planet; and lastly the team of judges (excluding myself, who served as head judge), which includes Eric and Justin Worrall, as well as Josh Wright who also judges for the World Wakeboard Association’s Wake Park World Series.

Brandon Scheid finding the time to sneak in a grab.

The calm before the competitive storm

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Tom Court throwing down on the North rooftop rail.

Nightlife at Triple-S never disappoints.

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REFLECTIONS ON THIS YEAR'S EVENT Q: What are your thoughts on the format and level of riding/competition this year? Sam Light: The format gets improved and refined each year – we have found a really good setup that everyone is happy with. The riders created the KPL as a governing body to help establish a standard across all the park events, they worked with the organizers to help find the perfect format for the event. Everybody wants more time on the sliders and this year everybody got it – I think we had four days out of six with wind, which meant everyone’s riding improved a lot. I think almost all the men in the final landed 7’s when in previous years we would only see a few 7’s during the whole contest.

Q: How would you describe this year's event in relation to all of the 10 years past? Jason Slezak: This year’s event had a lot more competitive nature… Which in one way I think is good for the evolution of the sport. And in another way, it’s a departure from the true start of the event – but the sport has evolved itself and changed a lot as well. Personally, I was more blown away with the consistency and level of riding this year than any other year across the board: men and women, top of the field and bottom of the field.

the amplitude of the tricks, and more of the wake style was shining through this year. People like Ewan I was super impressed with… you couldn’t tell if he was being pulled by a cable, a boat, a winch, or a kite. His style was there no matter what… he took time to grab everything. Overall, you could tell that riders really cared about the way that tricks looked.

Q: Thoughts on what went down at the 2016 Wind Voyager Triple-S Invitational? Toby Bromwich: Despite Sam Light winning the men’s division for a fourth time in a row, the level was more competitive than ever. And the ladies too, with Karolina Winkowska turning her focus more to the park side this year, and taking the win at Triple-S and in Palawan, it meant the level was higher than ever for the women too. This year, all riders put in some serious training time at rail parks and cable parks around the globe, and with a solid forecast during the event, we saw a week of progression unlike any before. No safe runs to get a score would be of use this year. In the men’s division, you better have a backside 540 or frontside 720 minimum as your first trick to have had a chance on the kickers, while on the sliders, the technical level also skyrocketed. The level in the ladies riding was really exciting to see, especially how polished the rail riding has become.

His style was there no matter what…''

Q: What are your thoughts on the level of women's riding compared to last? Eric Worrall: I think there is definitely an improvement in the women’s riding. I’m not going to mention names, but we were really impressed. There are definitely some girls breaking boundaries, more than what we have ever seen in years’ past.

Q: What about in the men's division? Eric Worrall: This is where one of the big improvements was made: we saw a lot of 7s this year – a lot of 720s. Toeside (backside and frontside), heelside (frontside and backside), whereas last year there may have been only a couple of guys doing them.

Q: How would you describe the men's riding this year compared to last? Josh Wright: I noticed a huge difference from last year to this year. I think the riding stepped up at least double of what it did last year – it progressed significantly. I think

Q: What was the nightlife like this year? Sam Light: The nightlife is always awesome at the Triple-S: every night there is an epic party! The headline sponsor, Wind Voyager, threw a crazy party at their huge house after the event was finished! All the riders were partying hard because we got the event done in the first few days.

Q: Having one of the best seats in the house as a photographer, how was the event from your perspective? Toby Bromwich: The days were packed full of great action on the water and amazing performances every night from the live bands at the parties. We are lucky to watch and document this top-level of riding from front row and enjoy the stoke on the water with the crew and riders. The vibe was amazing and everyone was pushing the level and having a great time in the process.

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THE WIND VOYAGER TRIPLE-S CHALLENGE SERIES Q: Do you foresee the Wind Voyager Challenger Series having impact in the long run? Josh Wright: I think this is a great incentive to help push the sport, and to help nudge the riders out of their comfort zones as well – and put some history on the map.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Challenge Series, as it may impact people over the winter, and what might we see on the water during the 2017 event? Eric Worrall: I think the fact that Christophe landed a heelside 9 – that it was so good and so perfect – I think we’re probably going to see multiple people doing them next year. I think that kind of opened people’s eyes and made them see that it’s a possibility, and not something that is really that far out there. I think that people are really a lot closer to doing those tricks than they realize.

Q: How do you think the Wind Voyager Challenge Series impacted people’s performance during the event? Eric Worrall: I think that it put the idea in people’s heads and got them doing stuff that they wouldn’t have done without the Challenge Series there. It definitely puts the motivation out there and some new ideas on the table for maybe someone who had never thought of trying something, or didn’t think they had the capability of doing it.

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Q: Even though the 900 Challenge was won this year, do you think it will inspire others to learn 9s too? Jason Slezak: Ah, without a doubt. People have been landing 900s, and Tack has been actively going for a 1080 for a while now – in whatever form, whether it’s off a built kicker or a wave. Historically, as the sport progressed, there was a point where we only saw

landed a heelside 9-that it was so good and so perfect'' 3s [360s], and a point where someone started doing 5s [540s], and there seemed to be a plateau at 7s [720s]. Dre went for years trying 7s everywhere he went, and getting so close – getting them but not riding away or whatever. And then all of a sudden, once someone started landing them, it makes it achievable for everybody else. And also raises that bar. For example, Tack was talking about it the other day when he landed the 9, and there was that

kid Alex Maes – who was in the Wind Voyager Triple-S Open, but didn’t make it into the Invitational event – he had never landed a 7. But before everybody left Hatteras, Maes landed a 7 and landed a 9. So as soon as somebody sees it as attainable to them, then all of a sudden it raises the bar and sets the new level. I don’t know if it’s directly the Challenge Series, but if you offer cash and bragging rights (because it’s in front of everybody else), then that extra little bit of motivation pushes everybody in front of their peers to try just that little bit harder.

Q: Do you think we will see a female stomp a 720 at the event next year? Eric Worrall: I think it’s definitely a possibility. Obviously when it comes to kiting, you have to worry about conditions and things that go into it. But if it sets up right, and the women are really riding on the top of their game, then I think it’s something we could definitely see.

Q: And what about the 1080? Eric Worrall: I think a 1080 is definitely doable. And from watching the riding at this year’s event, I think there is more than just one person who has the capability of doing a 10. Everyone is always crossing their fingers, hoping for the best conditions, but if you have the right conditions, there are a lot of tricks that we could see that we might not expect.

2016 champion Sam Light gapping the 82-foot-long John Wayne Cancer Foundation A-frame.

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Alex Fox getting inverted on Core Kicker.

THE CABLE CONNECTION Q: Given that you’ve witnessed 10 years of Triple-S evolution, do you think cable wakeboarding has influenced and accelerated the progression of kite park riding in any way? Justin Worrall: Yes. The rail and kicker tricks are coming straight from wakeboarding, so even the kiteboarders who are a little newer to the rail side of kiting are getting a huge head start just by watching and learning from cable riders. The kiters that have been in it for a while are usually at a super high level on the cable as well, and that cable time is, to a large degree, what has pushed their riding to the top level.

Q: In terms of people’s riding being polished and cleaner this year, I’m curious, do you think cable riding might factor into that? Eric Worrall: The guys that ride cable, and take the time to focus on their obstacle riding away from kiting, and on the cable, you can see it very clearly when they get on the water with a kite. I think it comes mostly from the fact that, on the cable you’re not worried about your kite, you’re not worried about the conditions – it’s consistent. So you’re able to put in a lot more practice time doing the trick the right way rather than working with the conditions that you have. So I think that’s where the biggest difference is, and where you start seeing a gap. The top guys are going to be the guys that are taking the time to ride cable, and to be able to do the tricks every single time, rather than having to rely on conditions, of wind and their kite. When you’re kiting, there’s always a lot of variables. When you’re riding on the cable, that’s obviously reduced quite a bit.

Q: Given that you are super familiar with cable wakeboarding, can you tell which kiters have spent time at the cable? Justin Worrall: It’s usually pretty obvious which competitors have been taking laps at the cable. The kiters that ride cable look super comfortable on the features in the REAL Slider Park, and many times do some of the tricks that are currently popular in the wake scene.

Q: What sort of influence do you see cable wakeboarding having on kiteboarding in general? Josh Wright: Cable wakeboarding has a lot of trends that I see going into kiteboarding. Just because it has a bigger group of “core” riders, the do’s and don’ts are a bit clearer

and I see a lot of these norms pushing into the kite scene. However, I really like that kiteboarding has kept a lot of its own style though. Cable wakeboarding still has its weird phases that I’m glad kiting did not follow.

Q: Do you think that Triple-S athletes will have a competitive advantage if they ride a lot of cable before the 2017 Wind Voyager Triple-S Invitational? Or might riding cable even be a necessity in order to be a top contender next year? Josh Wright: The top three riders at Triple-S every single year are just as good (if not better) on the cable as they are on the kite, on features. Spending a lot of time on the water and being able to try tricks over and over is what allows a rider to be comfortable on features, and the cable gives you the fastest way to hit the same feature over and over again. I suspect that kiters who are not on the cable at all during the year won’t be able to compete with those who are.

Brandon Scheid, stylish and creative as always.

Do not trust this man.

the cable gives you the fastest way to hit the same feature over and over again''

Recovered from years of injury, Ewan Jaspan turned a lot of heads at this year’s event.

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THE BUBBLE Q: Will the entry process be similar next year, with the top four women and top 16 men qualifying for 2017’s event, plus you’ll have the Video Wildcard Contest, and the Wind Voyager Triple-S Open? Jason Slezak: Yeah, the entry process will be the same next year. This year, during the event, we saw a drive all the way to the bitter end to get into that top 16 to requalify for next year. And that also fosters progression, whereas in the past, there would be a point through the week where certain people would kind of shut off and be like, “screw it, I’m not going to podium… I’m just going to party or whatever.” Now, however, there is a fight all the way to that last moment of the last heat, because that’s what dictates those last four spots if you didn’t make it into the 12-man final.

Q: Given that you placed 16th at this year’s event, I heard that you’ve jokingly called yourself “Bubble Boy,” as you were right on the cusp of earning an invite to the 2017 event. What was it like “living in the bubble” of uncertainty in your final heat? Rich Sabo: I’m really proud of myself for keeping up with all these progressive riders, and getting 16th place only made me realize how much harder I’ll have to push myself for next year. The “bubble” spot is a stressful spot to be! After not qualifying for the main event, I was definitely a bit worried about getting top 16. The format is high stakes as a zero on any feature pretty much means you are not getting back in next year. On the other hand, all of the eight riders in the consolation round were capable of putting up high scores – so it was really a matter of who handled the pressure and put down a score. The pressure in the consolation round was nearly the same as it was in the main event, if not more so… as if you didn’t make the cut you were inevitably going to have to put in a wildcard video entry or win the Open next year.

Bruna Kajiya getting her kicker on.

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2016 Wind Voyager Triple-S Invitational Final Results Men:

18th – Will Palmer – USA – F-One

1st – Sam Light – United Kingdom – Slingshot ($12,000)

19th – Andre Phillip – Antigua – Tona

2nd – Brandon Scheid – USA – Liquid Force ($7,5000)

20th – Aymeric Martin – France – North

3rd – Christophe Tack – Belgium – Liquid Force ($5,000)

21st – Jason Slezak – USA – Liquid Force

4th – Noè Font – Spain – North ($3,000)

22nd – Tom Court – UK – North

5th – Ewan Jaspan – Australia – Naish ($2,000) 6th – Aaron Hadlow – UK – North ($1,500) 7th – Craig Cunningham – Canada – North ($1,200) 8th – Jake Kelsick – Antigua – Tona ($1,000) 9th – Eric Rienstra – USA – Core ($800) 10th – Billy Parker – USA – Best ($600) 11th – Axel Tack – Belgium – Liquid Force ($500) 12th – Maciek “Magic” Lewandowski – Poland – Nobile ($400) 13th – Tobias Holter – Germany – Cabrinha 14th – Alex Fox – USA – Slingshot 15th – Sam Medysky – Canada – Best 16th – Rich Sabo – USA – Liquid Force 17th – Chris Bobryk – USA – Best Winners...


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Women: 1st – Karolina Winkowska – Poland – Slingshot ($5,500) 2nd – Colleen Carroll – USA – North ($3,300) 3rd – Bruna Kajiya – Brazil – Red Bull ($2,000) 4th – Sensi Graves – USA – Liquid Force ($1,000) 5th – Annelous Lammerts – Netherlands – Slingshot 6th – Lindsay McClure – USA – Liquid Force 7th – Manuela Jungo – Switzerland – North 8th – Victoria Soloveykina – Russia – Best

Wind Voyager Triple-S Challenge Series: Christophe Tack – First 900 ever landed in kite park competition ($900)

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Will James lines one up and hopes his kite stays in the air...

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THE MAURITIUS INVITATIONAL It’s fair to say the equipment we use to kite with has evolved a whole lot in the last 10 years. But if you had to pick one area that has come on more than any other (okay, ignore foiling!) then it would have to be waveriding… Freestyle specific kites do now have depower, but your pure C kite is still comparable to your pure C of 2006. With surf kites it’s a different story – for a start there weren’t really any surf kites back then! So when you dropped into a solid wave, you’d ease out the bar and… well… not much would happen, you would just keep accelerating. Which really puts the Mauritius Invitational which was held at maching One Eye into context… Words: Leena Ballack | Photos: Stephane Fournet

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The concept was simple: invite 10 of the best kite waveriders to One Eye over a three week holding period. Then just rip as hard as possible for the cameras. So no judges, no sitting on the beach waiting for your turn and then, at the end of the event, the riders just rank each other. So each day the judgement was confirmed by looking at the videos of Elliot Leboe and photos of Stephane Fournet. Pure and simple. The local organizers and kiters Patrick Deveaux and Laurent LeBolloch did a great job. They have been riding this wave for years and they know the set up perfectly. One Eye had always been considered a racetrack where you could attempt a suicide barrel or a speed top turn whilst trying not to be pulled out the back. For the event we were blessed on the first day by Mother Nature. It was massive. 20 feet on the wave face, and 15 to 18 knots of wind. It was challenging, hooking into one of these monsters, and the scene was set‌

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Grant keeping it low and hoping his kite behaves itself.

GRANT TWIGGY BAKER "That was an amazing time in kiteboarding, everything was new and fresh in waveriding and we were testing the limits of what we could do on the equipment we had. That event was crazy at One Eye, with huge swell and strong winds, and I just remember trying to survive and get back to the beach after every session!" Unhooked, strapped in, and hanging on

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“The world’s best came to Mauritius to test their skills. With the support of all the sponsors who made the three week event possible, everyone’s skills and equipment were put to the test. The contest period gave us conditions ranging from two feet through to a solid 20 feet! With no set heats, everyone pushed each other all day for three weeks. Basically everyone went hard… Riders tagging huge sections and pulling into huge barrels. This contest really paved the way to where the sport is today. This photo was taken on a mid-sized day. This was towards the end of the reef at One Eye and the sets were just standing up and barreling – it was basically like a machine. Pick your line and see how deep you can get. Some big barrels were had this day by all the competitors. I was using a 5m C kite and riding unhooked and with no leash as I wanted nothing to do with my gear if I stacked it.”

We don’t know if this is ‘that wave’, but here’s John offering his definition of ‘commitment’

JOHN AMUNDSON “The 2006 Mauritius Invitational Contest was the very first of its kind. Let me start by saying, I was completely honored to be invited and to be competing amongst some of the best kite surfers in the world. It was very early in the sport of surfing with a kite, particularly in waves of consequence. Up until that point most publicized kite surfing was in small surf. The conditions we scored for that event were very serious! I think everyone had moments of feeling reluctant to pump up a kite and get into the playing field. The fact that it was a competition, and better yet, a competition that was judged by the riders, really made everyone push themselves past their normal limits to impress their fellow competitors. There’s one memory that will stick in my head for the rest of my

life. One day we all had a helicopter photo shoot scheduled for around 11. The surf was huge, around 20 feet on the face. Felix and Pete Peterson were the first guys on the water around 10:30. These guys had showed up to this contest with something to say and had been very vocal about how they expected to see people riding, so on and so forth. Coming through the lagoon, making my way to the playing field I knew I had a good chance to make an impression on these guys (two of my judges). I came out the top channel and made my way down the reef into a huge set! I had the choice of any one of these beasts as Felix and Pete had just caught waves and were on the inside. I picked the biggest one out of the herd and engaged. I was pretty deep, I came off the bottom turn and suddenly two TheKiteMag | 119

pairs of wide eyes were fixed on me, my judge and jury. This wave walled up so far down the line. I pulled into the barrel and stood straight up and traveled several meters before getting pulled back by the breaking lip and my kite lines, I went up and over the falls in the barrel and got completely destroyed. Some may look at that as failure, but my point was to push the limits of the sport and pull into the biggest tube I had ever seen with a kite at that time. Another more selfish reason was to set an example to the two biggest critics amongst the invitees! Needless to say, I missed the photo shoot. It took me a few hours to retrieve my broken equipment and get to the beach. Once on the beach, adrenaline still flowing, I came around the corner to the resort that we were all staying at and there was Felix illustrating 120 | TheKiteMag

and telling the story of my crash and burn moment to a good portion of our competitors. Caught by surprise, Felix turns to me and asks, “What the hell were you thinking?!” My reply, “This is why we came down here, I will remember that image for the rest of my life!”. That event was a mix of styles by the invitees including strapped, strapless, hooked and unhooked. There was a lot of discussion at the breakfast, lunch and dinner table over how the sport should and will evolve. It was good conversation, but in the end the sport has evolved in the way it was meant to and is still evolving. I do think that we were setting the groundwork for what was to come. These days there are guys like Keahi and Reo pulling into huge barrels and it is fairly commonplace. I love this sport!”

Sky Solbach keeping low and lining it up

RESULTS Felix Pivec - Australia

Martin Vari - Argentina Will James – USA Jon Amundson- USA Bertrand Fleury – France

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The Shoot Hermanus, Western Cape.

Ydwer Van Der Heide

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Cape Town is a place where I spend quite a lot the year. It almost feels like my second home. It’s the place where I meet a lot of people who have become friends, and it has such a unique atmosphere as it attracts so many kiters from overseas. The versatile conditions and the endless changing landscapes also make it an awesome place to create nice pictures. If you are willing to drive around and explore places other than the well-known Kite Beach, you’ll find amazing spots with totally different conditions than most people know from Cape Town. Hermanus is one of those spots. It has a nice lagoon and with the right wind direction you’ll have perfect flat water with a totally different backdrop. The cool thing is that it is one of those places that is still unknown by a lot of kiteboarders... Airush are based in Muizenberg, Cape Town so most of the catalogue shots are done in South Africa, but we always try to find different places to shoot to keep it interesting. Sometimes you find a beautiful spot but it just doesn’t work with the wind. At those moments it is a pleasure to work with athletes who have the ability to perform in all kinds of conditions. Sometimes I visualize a shot in my mind and, if I have that feeling, I try to direct the rider to create that perfect moment. It requires a lot of patience and perseverance from the riders because they have to do the same trick over and over again and listen carefully to my instructions. I guess after working with them for quite some time they know exactly why to put so much effort in those moments, and it’s a great feeling when everything comes together. My main setup is my Canon 5D with a variety of lenses to cover most type of shots. I try to travel light, but somehow it never works out! I really can’t remember when I last traveled with just one piece of hand luggage that was within the weight allowance...

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F R O N T S I D E 3 6 0 T O TA I L P R E S S T O BAC K 1 8 0 T H E M OV E

This sequence is sick! By far the best sequence shot ever taken of me while kiting or pretty much any sequence. By far my favorite thing to do in the Real Kite Park is the Kicker to Slider Transfer. The most important thing is setting it up right to make sure the ramp to slider is setup just right to make the transfer and also to finish the slider without being pulled off by your kite. Next you’re gonna need to hit a few lines to get your speed and distance dialed in. Not enough speed and you can’t make the down section of the slider, too much speed and you will overshoot your landing. Now that you have dialed in your line you are ready for the transfer.

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PA R K E R T H E ‘ H OW T O ’ Approach the kicker with more speed than you think you need. This will give you ample power for distance and height in the air to complete your first rotation before contact with the slider. To get the landing solid you will need to spot the slider after your first 360. Make sure you ride all the way off the ramp before starting your first rotation (don’t pre-spin as this can cause you to go off axis, lose balance or crash) this will give you the time needed to spin 360. Pass the handle and then spot the landing. Once you have spotted the slider and are about to make contact, get ready to absorb the landing, and also think about board and body position. This is important for making the trick look good and also to perform it properly. You will be spinning, so focus on stopping the body spin by using your shoulders, core, locking your abs, hips and everything below the waist to keep the board in line with the slider. This will also help on the exit to redirect the spin in the opposite direction. Once you’ve landed, being on the slider never felt better! Keep your board and body in a straight line with the slider – you need to get your weight leaned to the back of the board and raise the nose for the Tail Press. Get ready for the end as it’s coming fast. Holding your Tail Press until the last second, keep the bar steady and near the front hip, then use the tail to spring off the slider and start your Backside 180 using the tension you have from the bar to help pull you around, while looking over your shoulder in the direction of spin. Bend the knees, absorb the landing and hold position while smiling huge and feeling good that you just had your way with Real Watersports John Wayne Cancer Foundation Slider. It’s the best kite park slider in the world!

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It is exciting times with RRD who have gone hard out this year with a new logo and consequently a MASSIVE release of new kit. We don’t know quite how Roberto Ricci does it. There are unverified rumors that he has succeeded in cloning himself – otherwise it is hard to see how there are enough hours in the day… Here he takes us through what he has been up to with the rest of the RRD team, and what we can expect over the coming weeks. As a brand RRD tend not to have an ‘annual’ release, but it is fair to say that you have a lot of new equipment coming out this summer – is this one of the biggest releases you have done? Yes, this is the first completely new release after nine years. Because we decided to change the logo along with the corporate outlook, we had to stop the timetable and change all of the graphics throughout the entire collection. The new cohesive look was presented at the distributor meeting in May. Normally, products are released periodically during the year with continuous updates only when the product is ready for the market and has been properly tested. This is our company philosophy. For this year, Year 22, we started from scratch to provide the collection with a radical new look that embodies our attention to detail, high quality design, and nonstop research and development. 132 | TheKiteMag

Have there been any major changes in terms of the factories you are working with or the materials you are using for the latest equipment? We are constantly looking for new manufacturers and production facilities. For example, since we changed our factory to Portugal to produce some of the new wave boards, the finish and quality of our boards has improved a great deal. Bringing the production of our boards to a real surfboard shaper maybe made production slightly more expensive, but it increases quality – especially of the finishing in the PU and LTD construction. There are some changes in construction for the surfboard – so we will release our new wave boards in three different constructions: PU, LTD and Wood. Our Wood surfboards are made in Thailand. We are excited to announce that we are

using a completely new technology to manufacture these boards. The High Definition Technology (HDT) is available only in our Wood construction which allows the boards to be stronger, lighter, and more resistant to high impacts. The combination of these three things are extremely difficult to achieve in a kite surfboard, but it is now possible to release a “strapless freestyle”-specific kiteboarding range that is lightweight, extremely durable, all the while remaining flexible. To keep the board flexible, we did not add a stringer and focused on the perfect amount of fiber rotation. The bamboo fibers are different on the top and bottom of the boards which allow our boards to be softer and more flexible than the classic bamboo construction. Then another important technology we have introduced is the autoclaved molded pre-pregged technology. This technology


The RRD team with a few of the new goodies...

is used on the 10 Knots Ltd Kiteboard. This technology make the 10 Knots incredibly light. With its generous width of 146cm long and 46cm wide the board weighs in at only 2.2 kilos. The extremely thin sidewalls, PVC core, full pre-pregged double layer carbon on top and bottom give this board the perfect stiffness to weight ratio. So there are some all new surf shapes – can you take us through them? Yes sure. So we have the new Rocket which is a brand new board for freeriding. It is packed with speed, easy acceleration, early planing, and loads of control. Best suited in the flats, chop, or small waves, this surfboard will get you through those marginal conditions. The Rocket is a short board with a wide nose and tail, equipped with a flat scoop rockerline, more volume in the middle section, and narrow rails. Thin rails and

extra floatation make this board excellent for strapless freestyle maneuvers and increases its lightwind performance. Rail to rail directional changes and high speed turns are much easier due to the Spiral V bottom, the deep double concave, and the squash tail. Additionally, the back fins are at a 0 degree angle. This feature enables the board to be suited as a freeride board more than any other boards in the line. Unlike the front fins that are angled towards the nose to keep the nose of the board down, the back fins do not point towards the nose. This ensures the back fins have no drag and they are truly free. The Rocket can achieve more speed and go faster, hence the name of the board. The Rocket provides great freeriding performance and is an ideal choice as the first introduction into a directional board.

the Chiatta to create a unique all-round performer. This combination paired with a COTAN shape provides a premium board that is truly the perfect shape for all conditions. This board is the ideal choice for those who are torn between the Rocket or the COTAN. The Spark shines bright during strapless freestyle, provides early planing for incredible light wind performance, and still maintains proper wave riding characteristics in side-onshore or side-offshore conditions. Equipped with easy to ride parallel rails, a very straight outline, and extremely thin, but really wide nose to tail, the Spark feels extremely comfortable and follows your line while cranking that bottom turn. The board is exceptionally stable as the nose does not lift up and down. Before we had two boards that do it all, now we have the Spark.

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Spark Classic PU

Spark Wood

Spark LTD

Can you tell us more about the three different wave board constructions?

memory and poor foam memory and it is this poor memory which gives our boards a proper surfboard feel.

degrees alignment of the fibers allowing for more flex compared to the bottom. Therefore, our Wood surfboards have a softer flex than those with a bamboo construction.

Yes, so we have: Classic PU, Wood and LTD constructions‌ The Classic PU construction was developed to create pure surfboards for pure wave riding and to allow control over choppy waters. We have improved the weight and strength of the boards this year. We are now using a pigmented resin. This type of resin fills up the holes in the foam and impregnates the glass fibers less which makes the boards lighter. In addition to the new resin, we have increased the bamboo deck reinforcement area and extended it all the way to within 2.5cm of the rail, then further back towards the tail, and a further 9cms towards the nose. The feeling of the classic board is pure surf. The Classic boards have poor fiber 134 | TheKiteMag

The Wood construction is a totally new technology used to create our boards. It is a very special process created with HDT (High Definition Technology). The boards are molded in one shot which means that all of the fibers and lay ups are in the mold at the same time. The boards are then laminated with an infusion process. Infusion brings the resin into the mold from the nose and is pulled through the mold towards the tail. By building the board this way, it is possible to use the minimum amount of resin, and less resin makes the board lighter. Because this construction is less labor intensive, it is possible to get a quality board at a fair price. The Wood construction offers full wood on both the bottom and the top of the board. The deck of the board has 90

The LTD construction was introduced last year. This construction is slightly lighter than the Classic, about 300-400 grams, but the difference is not as much the weight as it is the EPS foam core. The EPS core makes the board more buoyant because the foam holds more air. The boards in the LTD construction feel alive, not only because of their light weight, but also due to the added floatation. Because of this it is possible to ride a thinner board. All of our LTD’s are thinner and tuned down from the Classic and Wood technologies. These boards were created specifically to ride strapless and are ideal for jumping. They are meant for riders who ride the board during the


Two of the first out of the blocks: the Emotion and the Vision

landings, but want a lightweight board

We will come out with a new Obsession

Most kite lines don’t break anymore, but

at high speeds.


which genuinely don’t stretch!

at the same time that can be controlled

Then looking at kites, can you take us

through what’s being released now and the main developments here?

Yes, so we will soon release the new

Vision and Emotion kite. The Vision was introduced six years ago as an ‘entry-

level’ all-round kite which has now come into its own as a real all terrain machine for any level. Over the years this kite has

undergone many changes. The shape is now more open which increases the turning speed and provides less bar

pressure. The bridles and the pigtails are also shorter. Overall, the new features

distinguish the Vision as a wonderful

and Religion towards the end of the Everybody



legendary shapes. The Religion now has two bridle settings. An onshore setting

Where is your main design team based

be easily adjusted for the conditions

of getting prototypes tested and the

and a side-shore setting which can

and how does your set up work in terms


evolution of a product?




With these adjustments you can change the bar pressure, speed and position of the

kite in the wind-window. The Obsession is our big air and freestyle weapon that has had a ‘wave-injection’ since last year,

this kite is light, fast, powerful, stable,

and easy to be depowered and we think

The Emotion is our strutless lightwind

exist!’. Some of the new features are the

hangtime and boosting power while

at the same time being a practical kite that packs 30% smaller than a conventional three strut kite.

South Africa. It is very important for us

that we test in different conditions and have the potential to design our products

process that ensures quality control and

you take us through what’s new here?

keep the bar as simple as we can because

hold this kite back from having great

team that travels between Europe and

And you have the new Global Bar. Can

exceptionally high.

meter sizes. The lack of struts does not

center is in Italy but we have a design

all year round. This allows our design

The new V7 is simple, functional, safe

weapon which is available in 17, 14 and 12

We are all over the world! Our main

it is in a league of its own!

kite for all freeriders and wave kiters who still enjoy a kite that jumps

we are incredibly proud to have our lines

and durable. We are always keen to for us ‘you can’t break what doesn’t

de-power stopper ball for schools, old

school moves or people with short arms. Then the bar has a longer depower,

a molded unbreakable donkey dick, improved safety-system and better grip. What we definitely didn’t change are

our exclusive ‘RRD Rigid Thread Lines’.

work to be a thorough and continuous proper testing of each and every product.

We are continuously designing new equipment on a daily basis and we live

by our philosophy: non-stop research and development.

As a brand you must have one of the biggest ranges of products on the market

– how do you keep on top of all of them and find the time to make sure everything is as good as it can be?

In the beginning I was doing everything myself. As the product range grew, so

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did our team. Thanks to the help of our expert product managers, we are able to delegate the job of product design testing to a strong team. Each team is focused on putting the product through rigorous testing and then into production. It is now a matter of coordinating these guys to make sure they deliver at the right time. My role in the company has shifted towards managing the product line, coordinating, and supervising more than doing it physically. I am still responsible for a great deal of product in the collection, but more and more I delegate the responsibility to our exceptional project managers who can focus the proper amount of time and energy into each piece of equipment that we create. I am open minded when it comes to designing products but I also demand very specific characteristics from the products we release. I only accept changes that make sense and when they are going in the proper direction for the market. That is my main task when it comes to working with products in the company. It is important that there is a great bond between the designers and that we all have the right intention to move forward together. This understanding enables the team the ability to focus on what they are good at and allows me to do the same. Having such a complete product line is a significant amount of work. We strive to improve the organization and the flow of information continuously

to get better and better. There will always be challenges with new technologies, new designs, and disciplines, such as kite foiling. But it is exciting to constantly explore new avenues, improving ourselves, and our products. Which riders have input into the design of the products? Most of our riders have input in the designs, we make sure that most of them test our products, not only on functionality, but also durability. We have a couple of them that are pretty technical and knowledgeable after all these years and we evaluate all feedback. We even listen to Kari sometimes when she wants more pink in the graphic designs! Aside from Abel and Werther (the main test and development team) we work intensively with Alex Neto, Jerrie van de Kop, Julien Leleu, Forest Bakker and also super experienced guys like Rui Meira – independent testers who help us to create this gear to reach the incredible levels of performance that is needed nowadays in pro level wakestyle and freestyle. So, a big release now and then do you have some more products lined up for release later in the year? Of course. We are excited to announce that we will be releasing a foil that will

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Abel and Werther talk cant...

be released around September. Our new foil concept has a really great combination of a hybrid fuselage, carbon wings, and an aluminum mast. We developed this foil for beginners and for schools. It will be available in three mast sizes, from ‘ready for take off’, to the ‘touch and go’ and ending with a ‘full flight’ mast. The three different mast lengths allow anyone to approach the sport easily and safely. Our foil is well tuned and developed after rigorous testing by myself, the team and friends. The main focus was to make a foil that is easy, stable, and safe. Creating a set up that allows the rider to improve the foil as their own skill progresses. It is possible to purchase higher performance wings or masts at a later stage. This is a great new foil design and package that also has the ability to be used as a Tuttle box or a four-hole plate. It is important to have a foil that you can really adapt to a lot of the boards on the market besides our own.

Another worthy release is our winter wetsuits. The winter wetsuit release is a continuation of the 2016 global collection that includes thicker neoprenes and is based on three styles for men and two for women. We are really excited about the new range and the new look and have new materials and sizings, including the Grado Junior for boys and girls who want to have a great wetsuit just like their dad!


Time to go testing...

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Tell Me About It:

CABRINHA FIREBALL Sometimes it makes sense to take a step back from something, to tilt your head, and to try to look at it from a completely fresh perspective. That’s what Cabrinha have done with the most fundamental element of any kiter’s setup – the connection between the rider and their kite. Pete Cabrinha talks us through the brave new world of the all-new Fireball… When and why did you decide to take a fresh look at the way we connect ourselves to our kites?

I was always a little suspicious of the chicken loop. It has worked pretty well for the needs of kitesurfing but it was one

of many kitesurfing parts that was not originally designed

for kitesurfing. The hook and loop connection came directly from windsurfing and we have spent the last 20 years trying

to modify it for our needs. We had early prototypes of Fireball

back when we were developing Quicklink™ but we didn’t put it into full development until just over two years ago.

What was the main objective that you set yourselves? The main objectives of Fireball was to simplify the connection. To minimize the shape and design. To address the unique forces and extreme angles that happen when a kite is connected

to a rider. In simple terms, we decided to start from ground up and make a purpose built connection rather than continuing to repurpose the windsurfing loop.

Did you try different types of connection before arriving at the Fireball?

Fireball and the connection spreader went through many

different prototypes and variations but they were all based on the ball and socket idea. Most of them were originally made to be cross compatible with the existing hook and loop system. But we found that trying to make Fireball compatible with

the hook and loop system was a huge compromise to both systems. So we decided to make the Fireball connection uncompromised and that’s when we really saw its potential.

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Why ‘Fireball’? It wasn’t much of a stretch to come up with the name. We wanted something descriptive that pointed to the ball and socket design.

Can you summarize the main advantages of the system? Fireball is a friction free, rotational connection that is closer

to the core than a traditional loop and hook system. It has a more streamlined minimal design. It has an auto locking

gate which secures the ball in place. Autolock™, as we call it, is located right on the socket and is non-binding. It does not

restrict movement the way a security pin does. It’s also more elegant and simple to use.

How do you go about testing the various forces and range of movement of the system?

For strength and durability testing we do thousands of cycle

tests in the lab. But performance testing is all done on the water. The main difference between Fireball and a hook and loop is that the hook and loop was originally for a windsurfer who’s body stays in a similar proximity to the boom the whole

time he or she is riding. Whereas a kite is sometimes straight

above the rider (at the zenith), sometimes it’s far to the sides of the rider (when riding toe side), and even sometimes it’s

below the rider (inverted tricks like a deadman for example). So we needed a system which is fully rotational and nothing does that better than a ball and socket.


Check out the range and how tight it stays to your harness

The Autolock system. Very simple, very effective

The click out on the Spreader Bar

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Locked in and ready to ride

The Autolock is a great example of a ‘simple’ solution. Did you look at more complex ways of locking the Fireball in?! The most difficult part of the Fireball equation was finding a way to keep the ball engaged without affecting its fluid rotational movement. The Autolock gate came well into the second year of development after many different design directions. Autolock™ was one of the “Ah…ha!” moments. We had found a way to secure the ball by completing the shape of the socket. The unique feature of Autolock™ is that it automatically engages itself into position when activated. So there is no question whether you are securely connected to your kite. And there is no possibility of foul hooking like you can with a loop and hook system. We’ve tested the system and were really impressed by the fact that you get much less harness movement and do generally feel more ‘locked in’ to your kite. Why does such a ‘simple’ system have such a dramatic effect? I think the main reason that Fireball is so effective is because of the fact that it is simple. If you look at the history of the windsurfing loop turned chicken loop, we (the industry) needed to keep adding things onto the loop every time we ran into an issue. And that made the loop into a mess of dangling, unassociated parts. With Fireball we started with a clean slate and only put in the design the things that were absolutely necessary. You say that you expect the Fireball is going to work for 80% of riders who generally ride hooked in – are there any plans to make a version that unhooked riders can use, or a sliding spreader bar for waveriders? Fireball ‘version one’ is designed for the more than 80+ percent of riders who ride predominantly hooked. That being said, the benefits of Fireball when unhooking are many. The main benefit is that when the rider unhooks, they only have a tiny Fireball 140 | TheKiteMag

connector hanging below the bar. Fireball is light and there is no loop to catch on a hand etc. We already have the unhooked versions in development and our riders are super excited about it. I guess some riders will like the system but be reluctant to pay for a new spreader bar. Can you assure riders that the system is likely to stay the same for the foreseeable future so it’s worth them investing? We have locked in the ball and socket connection specs so that in the foreseeable future all new systems will be backwards compatible. The Fireball system is modular. If you look at the system you’ll see that the lower half of the system separates from the upper half. This has many future implications for being able to attach different connectors to customize your style of riding. We have created an eco system that can support all riding types. The kite industry has become increasingly competitive so I guess big innovations like this are a big deal for brands like Cabrinha. Do you think the Fireball is a ‘game changer’? As a brand, it’s difficult to make claims like ‘Game Changer’ without sounding full of hype. So we let the testimony of the testers, riders, and customers make that claim for us. Yes, I also believe that Fireball is a game changer for us in the way that our development team is approaching all future development. We are looking at all of the parts our sport has borrowed from other sports or industries and are asking ourselves whether these are in fact still relevant to kitesurfing. We are looking hard at all of the things in kitesurfing that are dubbed “industry standard” and questioning if the sport has become complacent in the name of ‘standards’. I believe that standards can often be the death of innovation and if we (as an industry) are not innovating… the customer is perhaps not getting the very best products that they should be getting. Nothing is off limits now. If we can improve it, we will.


You don’t have to use it like this...

Surf stability

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Naish arrive on the foil stage for 2017. Just released, the Naish Hover Foil aims to have a broad appeal and introduce ‘foil face’ to the masses. The man behind it, Des Walsh, takes us through the new arrival...

So, before we start looking in more detail at the foil, can you explain to us why you thought the time was right for the first Naish foil?

How did you decide which materials would be the right fit for your vision of the foil?

The goal was to offer a product that would get as many people

We have been keeping a close eye on the scene and riding

out on the water foiling and having fun as possible. The right

time and been in and out of vogue. The possibilities that foils

long-lasting. Aircraft grade aluminum 6061 provides great

Naish felt that the time was right to develop foils for kiting,

while molded glass wings deliver nice durability.

different foils for years. Kite foiling has been around for a long

materials would make our product affordable, durable and

offer has been embraced in many forms of sailing recently and

stiffness and corrosion resistance in a lightweight package,

windsurfing, and SUP.

How many prototypes did you go through until you thought

And what was the remit that you set yourselves for the foil? Who’s it geared towards?

We wanted a classic foil that would be comfortable to ride and easy to progress with. The Hover Foil offers a lot of stability

and is especially geared for foiling at relatively low speeds for a great, all-round experience that makes it easy to learn on.

How does the R&D process of producing a new foil begin?! As with any R&D process, we start out with a specific goal

in mind. In this particular case, the Hover was born out of the need to deliver something that was accessible and easy

enough for riders to get started, but functional enough to grow

their skills with. We did a lot of research to get just the right

shape that would provide the best, most stable experience. Features like the adjustable back wing position – which

delivers increased stability when positioned towards the back, or increased maneuverability when positioned forward –

ensure the Hover can adapt with riders as their skills progress.

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you had ‘got it’ and how long did the process take?

We really took our time with this one and wanted to make sure we offered the right product for a broad market and that they

would not outgrow or have it become obsolete. We tried all types of foils made with many different constructions before the Hover was finalized.

Who were the main team riders feeding into the development process?

There was a broad spectrum of riders’ opinions that were considered in the process. We have guys like Kai Lenny (who has been foiling since he was 9), Jesse Richman and Kevin

Langeree, plus guys who work in the office who don’t kite very often, but want to foil on lightwind days.

Was there a ‘Eureka’ moment when you thought: that’s what we’re looking for!

This freeride foil is a timeless shape that won’t be obsolete in a few years. For this project, the ‘aha’ moment was when


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Des Walsh (left) discusses the finer points with Damien Girardin

we found a system that we could count on that could get everyone out riding in really light wind. A design that beginners could learn on, reaching that comfort level as quickly and easily as possible.

How popular is foiling on Maui at the moment, are there some good flatter spots or are conditions generally pretty challenging for foiling?

And moving on to the board, can you talk us through this?

Foiling is developing in many different directions here on Maui and is getting more and more popular. With consistent strong winds and waves, you would not think it is an ideal foil location. But there are some really nice light wind days and many evenings that are perfect for foiling when the wind backs off. There are many riders who have been kiting for a long time and are always keen to push the limits on what is next. The strong winds are challenging but the riders have adapted themselves and use really small kites to make it work and progress. On any given day you will see strapless freeriders, speed/racers, wave riders, big air, and now even Jesse Richman doing strapless airs.

Naish is offering two boards, the Hover 160 and 130. The Hover 160 is a great board to start with that is forgiving and comfortable with rounded off edges. In the early parts of a person’s foiling journey, the board is important. That’s why this board is so great for beginners, it dampens some of the sensitivity of the foil when learning transitions. The Hover 130 is a light, thinned out, small performance board that gives you a sensitive, direct feel of the foil. The last few years have seen foiling move from a niche to the mainstream, has this surprised you and what are your thoughts as to how popular foiling is likely to get? It is not surprising that it is becoming mainstream. With its lightwind potential, kiters can ride more often and explore different locations they never wanted to kite before. Foiling – being equally challenging as it is rewarding – gives you a very unique, no friction, floating feeling. Kiting underpowered on a twin tip or surfboard really does not get the adrenaline flowing, but foiling in six knots of wind can blow your mind.

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The shots of Kai riding the foiling SUP went viral pretty quickly – was it a similar foil that he was riding and are you able to apply the same foil technology to all of your products? Yes, it is an exciting time at Naish because all of the departments have been working together to develop foils and a system that will work for kiting, SUP, and windsurfing. And more exciting things are coming soon…


It works!

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Here’s Olly Bridge booting it around the Isle of Wight on his Levitaz foil. We didn’t go quite this fast in the tests… Photo: Mark Lloyd

THEKITEMAG 2016 FOIL TEST Regular purveyors of these pages will know that we generally like to mix up what we test and to bring you a range of kites and boards from a mixture of genres… Well, we do. And normal service will be resumed for next issue. But as the products of 2016 ebb away and the brands prep their 2017 launches, we thought now would be a good time to just look at one thing: foils. There is no escaping the fact that foiling has now hit the mainstream. Those of you thinking it looked a little bit scary and hoping it would perhaps just quietly disappear will have been disappointed. The fact is: if you kite in 2016 then you need to get yourself a foil. So with that in mind we gathered up a selection of ten foils and have spent the last two months putting them through their paces. On the test team were a mix of riders, ranging from beginner through to ‘experienced intermediate’ and testing took place in a range of conditions, from 6 knots through to 25, and from perfect flat water through to choppier conditions. So we have given them a true ‘real world’ workout. We hope over the next few pages to give you some insights into the best foil for you, and to help you to get stuck in and to start getting your ‘foil face’ on…

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Levitaz are an intriguing company. They have over 25 years’ experience in working with advanced composites, and have turned that (very useful!) breadth of knowledge and experience to the world of kitefoils. It is fair to say that they haven’t held back and have been striving to be on the top of the podium with their sponsored riders and commitment to evolution and R&D. Based in Austria, their foil program has now extended to include two boards along with three front and two back wings, which are all interchangeable onto the full carbon 4-bolt-plated mast. We had the Element and the Bionic on test so were able to put most of their kit through its paces. The first thing to say is that the entire range simply oozes quality and class from the minute you unwrap it. From custom padding for the mast through to the simple five stage assembly. The fuselage fits simply but absolutely perfectly onto the mast and their unique system allows you to quickly change both the front and back wings, and it all fits together with an incredibly solid and secure feel. So, before we even had it on the water we were suitably impressed. In terms of boards we had both the Exo and the Transformer. The Exo is a small, race-specific board which we found perfect for intermediate and above riders, and the Transformer suits more competent beginners upwards. The first wing we tested was the Element, the ‘entry level’ wing. The first thing to say is that this is an ‘entry level’ into top-end foiling! The Element does have a relatively low take off speed but when you put it up against the foils from most of the bigger kite brands it is an entirely different experience. It requires more board speed to get it foiling and once it’s up it’s fast. It can really be put through its paces and is more than happy hitting 27 mph: and then some! You do have to keep your L TEST wits about you and concentrate on your riding as the full carbon construction is so lightweight OI Y F GET IT and your foot positioning will affect the yaw quite considerably, but when you get it right it IL TI N IB S G is an incredible feeling. The performance and potential is simply awesome on all points S E of sailing and will excite (and scare) you continuously throughout your session. The benefits of a brand with experience in materials has clearly really fed into this foil and – providing you have the skills – this really doesn’t ever put a foot wrong. Once we had savored the performance of the Element, we then put the top-end-racing Bionic wing on. This doesn’t really work until you get up to 15 knots but when you get there you had better buckle up… This is a foil for the top 10% of riders and it feels like it with incredible acceleration, speed and all round performance. It’s nice to taste this level of performance but it would be foolish to pretend that you could get away with riding it unless your skills are truly top-drawer. D














In a sentence: For top-end build quality and performance it’s hard to look beyond the Levitaz package. Not for Sunday cruising but if you are looking to get more serious then there is plenty here to get you excited.













In a sentence: Very well-conceived and impressive package. With the foil, masts and Dwarf Craft you have everything that you need to comfortably take you from complete beginner through to advanced foiling skills. TheKiteMag | 147









Slingshot’s foil option has introduced an intelligent solution to help those beginning and S G S U E developing their foil journey. They have their Foiling Flight School package which introduces three separate mast sizes which can be increased in length as your skills progress. With the shortest ‘Taxi’ length mast we were really impressed with how quickly you could get beginners up and riding – we had the chance to test it with a few younger riders who had never foiled before and within 20 minutes they had had some runs and had the feel dialed in. Which is pretty amazing. Another benefit of the package is that – even once you have mastered the basics and moved on – you can always return to the shorter mast length as you begin developing new skills such as tacking and gybing. Why put yourself through those heavier crashes when there is no need to? Coming on to the foil and what we really like about the set up is just how fast the Hover Glide foils. It’s pretty instant which is great but also, due to the aluminum composite construction, the mast is very stable and predictable. To affect the yaw of the Hover Glide your input has to be quite heavy so, unlike full carbon masts, it gives you time to concentrate on finding that perfect balance point and get your weight distributed to the front foot once foiling. Coming on to the boards we had on test, and the Dwarf Craft 5’4 is just superb. It is well thought out and its light weight and chined rails are great for foiling. And we would say don’t be put off initially by the length because when it is coupled with the Hover Glide foil it pretty much foils the moment you put any back foot pressure on so you don’t need a longer board to get going.

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This was a foil that we really were excited about testing as the notoriously fussy (!) Mark Shinn has endorsed it with his new range of Shinn El Stubbo foil boards. First impressions were good and what you immediately notice with the Zeeko foil is how lightweight it is. Most of the others on test that did not come with carbon wings were pretty weighty so this was a nice surprise, it also comes with a travel bag which is a nice touch for this price point. The front wing on the Zeeko Foil is also interesting as it’s a relatively high aspect compared to a few other aluminum based entry level foils – this we liked as we knew that it would give you plenty to progress to. Zeeko have also added a twin tip style fin below the rear wing which hasn’t been seen on any other foil on the market. The concept behind this is to reduce yaw when riding so, when coupled with a longer fuselage, this foil should be fast, stable and quick to lift. On the water the Zeeko did not disappoint. We tested it on their Zeeko Slash 5’4 Convertible surfboard and the set up works well. Initially the width was a little bit of a concern as to how the board would deal with getting planing, but that worry was soon put to bed as the Zeeko Foil sprung to life and with a small pump of the back foot it was foiling. Once up and riding the foil is super stable and the small twin tip fin really aids in controlling the yaw, which lets you get on with riding without that worry of it being twitchy. The foil is really comfortable just cruising with the kite high at lower speeds with very little sign of dropping off. But the real surprise is how hard you can push the Zeeko, we had it up to 27mph and it was still super stable and it really gave the confidence to push more. D











In a sentence: This Zeeko foil is a wolf in sheeps clothing. Do not let the price or materials put you off – there is plenty of performance for 90% of foilers out there.











TE Spotz are one of a group of foil companies who have been quietly working GET ITY IL TI S N IB on developing their foils for a number of years. That foiling has now entered S G S U E the ‘mainstream’ makes them exceptionally well placed to show all of these newbies how it is done! In terms of who the Tuna is pitched at, this is not an entry level foil, nor is it a racing foil: it is a foil designed to be enjoyed by riders who want to enjoy a quality foil and to travel fast and with confidence. A member of our test team was very familiar with Spotz having spent a year riding the Tuna’s predecessor, the Spotz 2. This was a great foil but dismantling and reassembling the foil with their centralizing grub screws was quite hard work, especially if you were traveling a lot. So the first impression with the Tuna was that we were very enthused to see that the assembly and build had been modified and simplified. The mast now fits into the fuselage with two bolt fitments and the front wing and fuselage is one section, enabling the rear wing to fit in with ease. The stabilizer wing can also be adjusted to affect the lift and performance of the foil. So, this is a short fuselage, high aspect, all carbon lightweight foil designed to have good all round performance. We were keen to get going. On the water and the first impression is: Wow, the Spotz goes well! For the more intermediate and advanced riders in the test team this quickly became a ‘go to’ foil. It delivered some really excellent performance characteristics but was also surprisingly forgiving for a high performance foil. It went up, down and across the wind well and the speed and acceleration really grabs you, especially after riding the more entry level foils. It is a foil that encourages you to push harder and then lets you tune in and to really begin developing your skills. U








In a sentence: A very impressive mid to top-end foil that became a real favorite of the test team. For riders who want to cruise but also have the option to turn things up a notch.

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F-ONE have made no bones about the fact that they want to have a top end foil program. They have invested heavily in the R&D and put a lot of hours into creating foil packages that suit all riders – from the entry level hybrid foils all the way through to the Race Grand Prix which, as the name suggests, has its eyes on the prize. We had the Freeride 800 on test. This was the most accessible of the foils but can easily be switched to the racier 600 wing and you can also move on to the slightly longer carbon mast as your skills develop. It has to be said that overall the whole package looks superb and is also very easy to assemble. We also had their foil specific board (you can also ride it with the Mitu convertible) on test which was well built and has their recessed deck. We thought this was an excellent board although we did find that the front strap (note – these aren’t included as standard) had to be placed as far forward as it would go to get the board going. On the water the foil is controllable and you get good lift at lower speeds with the foil really coming onto the plane well and tracking precisely and comfortably from the get go. The board is very comfy to ride with the recessed deck and the sumptuous pads. The foil points well to windward and off the wind it is comfy and controllable although, even with the pads as far forward as possible, it takes a lot of front foot pressure to keep the nose down which is fine over short distances, but long broad tacks result in some serious leg burn. The top speed is excellent and even this ‘entry’ foil provides you with plenty of speed meaning that when you move onto the Freeride 600 you’ll have the right skills to progress. P















In a sentence: This is a foil that has been developed and produced with a lot of TLC from F-ONE. And it shows. The best quality you could expect from a ‘mid-range’ foil and a ride that really puts a smile on your face.



There was a lot of excitement about the arrival of the new Naish Hover Foil which has been a couple of years in coming. Unpacking the package and it was great to see that the Naish Foil comes in its own travel bag which is a really nice touch, it also comes ready to go with footstraps which are included in the package, then the fuselage, then the fuselage and mast (available in three lengths) are aircraft grade aluminum 6061. The wings are low aspect which creates a mellow lift at lower speeds, so if you’re cruising or looking to venture into some surf conditions then this is a great option. Naish have also opted for a relatively long fuselage to further aid stability. This was one of the heavier packages that we had on test and it was clear that Naish have opted for durability over all out performance. On the water and the Naish was an easy foil to get to grips with. The board (we had the F O I L T E S T 160cm, there is also a 130cm) had plenty of volume and length so getting it LITY IBI foiling at low speed was relatively simple and would really suit those GE SS T E T C I just heading out on a foil for the first time. Then what we really C N like about the Naish is that once it’s up and foiling the balance of the setup is excellent, so you don’t need to apply excessive front foot pressure to stop it rising. It naturally sits nicely in the water which gives you heaps of confidence. It goes upwind easily, and when riding it downwind you suddenly realize after 15 minutes that you haven’t fallen off! Which is a real asset in a foil as this tends to be when things quickly begin to deteriorate… Tacking was steady and forgiving and if the nose dives it doesn’t sink, and speed and wobbles were controllable. It’s not designed for speed and it pretty much topped out at 20 mph, but even then it was still stable and we came off the water singing its praises as the whole set up gives you a lot of confidence. G













In a sentence: Naish’s introduction to the foil market is a durable and accessible foil at a very competitive price point which ticks all the boxes for foil-cruising and for beginners to the sport. 150 | TheKiteMag












In a sentence: The Ketos Freeride 2 Foil is a great option for anyone looking for a top quality product that is still accessible for everyday riders. With the modular setup you are also able to adapt it for all levels and for all styles of riding.













S G The Cabrinha Double Agent is Cabrinha’s entry into the foil market S U E and they have gone for a durable, design that is easy to use and travel with. Out of the bag and you’ll notice that the Double Agent isn’t the lightest foil and board on the market, but this has its pros as it’s super durable and with an aluminum mast and ‘twin tip material’ wings you know that you’re not going to have to be too precious with it. The ‘double’ in Double Agent refers to the fact that the board can also be used as a surf/skimboard with slots for adding fins and for ripping it up in the waves if you’re not on the foil. With the foil screwed on the first thing to note is that it is a simple process to get the Double Agent up and foiling. It’s been designed to foil at low speeds and, with its low aspect front and rear wings, it does this incredibly well. We wouldn’t say it has a massive amount of lift, and even at the slow speed it still requires the back foot pressure and for your back foot to be pretty far back. Then, once up and foiling, the Double Agent is very stable and there’s no sign of it really wanting to break out and shoot skyward due to the lower aspect wings. The Double Agent is designed for cruising and it can do this all day long – it is very easy to ride (compared to the more high performance foils) and, although it tops out around the 20mph mark, this is enough for covering plenty of ground in a freeride capacity (and also seems to be plenty for Damien LeRoy to get the Double Agent airborne and pull some incredible freestyle moves!). Overall we would say that this is the perfect foil for a rider who isn’t looking to break any records or to break the bank but wants an accessible foil with the ‘cruise’ philosophy at its core…











The first thing you notice with the Ketos foil is the build quality and craftsmanship. Ketos are another brand who have been building foils for a while (since 2010) and it shows. These are premium foils in a top-end construction. Ketos use the KF box which allows it to be fitted on smaller boards as well as a plate adapter so you can use boards with the 4 bolt system. The Ketos range of boards – both the Pocket and Skim – use a long exterior box which adds to the stiffness while allowing the board to be very light and thin. The foil is fully modular with one bolt connecting the mast and fuselage, then with two bolts connecting the front and rear wings to the fuselage. This enables easy assembly using the supplied Allen key and makes it quick and simple to swap between the various different wings which include Race and Wave options. There is also the option to use a Large Stabilizer rear wing which slows things down a bit and makes it easier for learner foilers. Then there are also 90 and 65cm masts alongside the 100cm mast we had on test. On the water you easily pop up onto the foil and straight away notice how stable and smooth everything is. The foil has great acceleration and points really well upwind at a good speed, just below that of a full race wing. Tacking on the FR2 is relatively easy for a higher performance foil thanks to the good upwind angle and low stall speed, giving you that extra bit of time to bring the power back on in the kite. Downwind and the speed is great with the stability allowing you to push hard, easily reaching 25 knots, although topping out before 30. Gybes are again really smooth either at full speed or while going slower and tighter. We had a few nice days in some waves and really enjoyed linking carving turns on the face, finding the low stall speed and quick acceleration to be a real asset.











In a sentence: The Double Agent is a fun, durable foil without the premium price tag. It is perfect for cruising, will have you smiling, and will boost your foiling confidence guaranteed. TheKiteMag | 151










The North Foil is unique in design and has rails connecting the front and back wings (which are identical in width). The primary benefit of this is in safety – there are no sharp wingtips to worry about, making the whole set up safer and also meaning that if someone is teaching you then they have less to worry about, and also if you find yourself careering towards the swim zone you don’t need to freak out quite so much! The North Foil LTD is aimed at the entry level and cruising markets – the price point is relatively high but this is a pretty bombproof foil so you needn’t worry about it only lasting you a few months… On the water and the long mast gives stability through bumpy water and reduces surfacing during learning. The foil itself is slow to plane but relatively easy to rise. As you accelerate it naturally rises up at a more easily manageable pace making it a great foil on which to really get your initial feel for foiling. The rails give it a locked in ‘anti yaw’ feel which is sometimes difficult to correct if the angle is wrong but you get a feel for this. Then it can take some persuasion to turn corners, but as the foil is so manageable this can be a plus and one of the test team did execute their first foiling tack on this setup. The board is large and voluminous with a double front strap setup and good comfy pads, and the whole rig tends to ride at about a 45 degree angle, which allows it to drift downwind quickly but sometimes makes positioning your weight hard work. Overall the North Foil LTD is a unique product. It is a quality and well-finished foil with a full carbon mast and wings, and the typical North attention to detail is there.






















In a sentence: A very safe and easy to use foil. The North Foil LTD will get you up and riding as quickly as any other foil on the market and then provides ‘fun cruising’ for the recreational foiler. 152 | TheKiteMag








In a sentence: A brand who are 100% committed to the foil revolution and it really shows in this versatile and well balanced mid-range foil.










Liquid Force have been one of the brands to truly embrace the foil revolution and have really taken the time to commit to a well-conceived foiling program. We were given the new Liquid force Rocket Fish for test which was hot off the production line and will be available soon. This is the ‘middle of the road’ foil package from Liquid Force and there have been some updates to this set up from the previous year. The first thing you will notice is that Liquid Force have changed the interface to the board with the Rocket Fish. It now has a Track Mast Mounting System, which makes life a lot easier when setting up, and also gives you more options to tune the foil to your style and conditions. As with other foils, the aluminum option is not the lightest, but it does add durability and also some additional stability. With the board there is also some more rocker than the previous version to aid you when touching down and rising again onto the foil. On the mast itself the chord depth has also been increased to reduce vibration at speed and, out of all the aluminum low aspect winged foils we tested, this carried the best top speed out of all of our sessions. The Rocket FO Fish foiled at very low speeds and was superbly stable, so from a first time IL GET ITY L T I TI foiler’s point of view this offering from Liquid Force is an appealing N IB S G S U one. The set up is aimed at riders who want to cruise about and E maybe have a play in some surf and, with its low aspect wing, the board is super nice to carve about on without the worry of it dropping off the foil or nose diving. Then the upwind performance is good and the downwind stability is great. Liquid Force do have a higher performing set up which can be fitted to this mast and fuselage and are not exceptionally high prices too, so if you feel you do want to progress to speed over cruising then just pick up the Happy Foil wings and off you go.

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WIND SCALES: PART 2 Last issue we looked at two commonly-used ways of expressing the windspeed in a marine environment: knots and the Beaufort scale. The Beaufort scale stops at force 12, equivalent to about 64 knots. However, if you want to categorize tropical cyclones or tornadoes, you will need a wind scale that goes way above that. These scales do exist, and there are many different ones used in different parts of the world. Here I’m going to talk about the most common ones: the Saffir-Simpson scale for tropical cyclones, and the Torro and Fujita scales for tornadoes. The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (SSHWS) runs from one to five, and is used in the North Atlantic and Northeast Pacific to categorize tropical cyclones according to the windspeed. The windspeed ranges work in a similar way to the Beaufort scale, but starting at 64 knots (force 12). In a similar way to the Beaufort scale it provides descriptions of different sea states according to each force, the Saffir-Simpson scale provides descriptions of the type of damage to buildings and other structures according to each category. This is very useful for alerting the public about the possible damage expected when a hurricane is about to hit.

to infer the windspeed. Just to add to the confusion, the original categories were associated with specific values of storm-surge height (the amount of seawater that floods onto the land), assuming that this was pretty well correlated with wind. Confusing, right? Well, a lot of people thought so too. By 2009 meteorological aircraft were able to fly directly into the storm center, so it was possible to measure windspeed directly, and so there was no longer any point using pressure to infer windspeed. And associating the categories with storm-surge values was misleading, because in reality storm-surge isn’t very well correlated with windspeed. So, in 2009 it was decided to remove both these parameters and base the scale solely on windspeed. In 2010, the revised version – the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (SSHWS) – became operational.

The scale was originally developed around 1971 by Herbert Saffir and Bob Simpson. It was called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale (SSHS) and put into general use in 1973. At first the categories were not based directly on windspeed but on values of the central pressure inside the storm. This was because accurate wind measurements inside hurricanes were not available before around 1990 so, instead, they used pressure

Full descriptions of all the SSHWS categories can be found at:











Saffir-Simpson scale with windspeeds in knots at the bottom: The windspeeds shown correspond to the lowest at each category, e.g. Category 1 is 64 to 82 knots. Category 5 is 137 knots or above 160 | TheKiteMag

Now, if you want to deal with tornadoes and the types of damage that they cause, then you will need wind scales that go even higher than Saffir-Simpson. The Torro and the Fujita are two such scales. The Torro scale is used almost exclusively in Britain and Ireland, while the Fujita scale is used mostly in North America but also in other parts of the world. They work just like the Saffir-Simpson scale, assigning a number or category to the storm according to the windspeed. However, with these higher scales it is practically impossible to measure the wind directly. Therefore, the windspeeds are inferred from remote sensing such as satellite radar or from inspection of the damage after the event has occurred.

Caption - An extremely rare South Atlantic Tropical Cyclone. Brazil, 2004

The Torro scale is an 11-point scale originally proposed in 1972 by Terence Meaden of the Tornado and Storm Research Organization in the UK. It was intended to be a direct extension of the Beaufort scale, with Torro 0 corresponding to Force 8, and then each subsequent Torro number corresponding to an increase of two on the Beaufort scale. You can easily convert Beaufort (B) to Torro (T) using the formula: T = 2(B - 8) The damage descriptions corresponding to each point on the Torro scale can be found at:

























Torro scale, windspeeds in knots at the bottom: The windspeeds shown correspond to the lowest at each category, e.g. Torro 0 is 34 to 47 kts. Torro 5 is 261 kts or above The Fujita scale was developed by Tetsuya Fujita in the 1960s. It was first put into use in the U.S. in 1971, and was primarily intended for tornadoes but could also be used for hurricanes. Originally it was a 13-point scale, designed to smoothly connect the Beaufort scale and the Mach number scale, with Fujita 0 corresponding to Beaufort force 12 and Fujita 12 corresponding to Mach 1 (the speed of sound).

the damage descriptions never correlated very well with the windspeeds, and a more comprehensive method of damage assessment was needed. Therefore, the method was updated to infer the windspeed by ‘normalizing’ the degree of damage according to the type of structure. A new 5-point scale based on this method was introduced in 2007, called the Enhanced Fujita scale or EF-scale.

As I mentioned earlier, windspeeds this high cannot be directly measured, and with the Fujita scale they are inferred from damage descriptions. With the early version it was found that

A description of how to infer the windspeed can be found at:













Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale, windspeeds in knots at the bottom: The windspeeds shown correspond to the lowest at each category, e.g. EF-0 is 56 to 74 kts. EF-5 is 174 kts or above

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KITE? CHECK. BAR? CHECK. PUMP? CHECK. BOARD? CHECK. HARNESS? CHECK. LET’S GO! We all have a list of what we need to get our session started, however I would be very surprised if any of you reading this has a list that stops there. The very nature of our sport permits us to quickly be162 | TheKiteMag

come equipment junkies and oHen the only thing that can put a stop to this hoarding of kite-associated gadgets and accessories is the dreaded airline excess baggage fees.Having to choose between your

helmet and your impact vest at the airport check in is always a situation to be avoided, which is why we are here to help you understand a little bit more about all the gear options available and decide if you can live without it and potentially be a better kiter to boot. Of course as you may already be aware if you are regular readers of our KiteSista section, this may contain sprinklings of our personal thoughts (just a few) but we all know it is helpful to have a second opinion from time-to-time, so consider us the posers of all the questions you were afraid to ask.

HOW DO THEY GET IN THE WATER SO FAST? Have you ever noticed how quickly that experienced rider gets on the water after arriving at the beach? They are not in a hurry (and will often then spend 5-10 minutes warming up once on the beach), yet they can still be seen tightening their boots and riding off into the horizon whilst you are still walking out your lines or applying sunscreen. The reason: simplicity and minimalism. We are not talking about interior design here, just a simple uncluttering of your kiting life to the absolute essentials.


Rider: Maureen Castelle Photo: KiteSista TheKiteMag | 163

WHAT’S IN YOUR KITE BAG? WIND METERS. These devices come in many flavors from the dedicated anemometer to the iPhone app that uses your microphone noise to guess the wind speed. Let us break it to you gently: everyone is laughing at you. You see, the speed of the wind alone is not the only gauge of which kite to pump. Air temperature and density, whether the wind speed is forecast to increase or fall, storm clouds on the horizon, the movement of sand on the beach, how easily birds are able to fly into the wind (a personal favorite) and the sure fire method that 99% of experienced kiters use: WHAT IS EVERYONE ELSE RIDING? Use these factors and make an informed decision, because consulting a wind meter and then the recommended wind range of your kites is not ideal, it is only a guide. Abandoning the wind meter will help you really feel and understand the wind – not just see it as a number.

“PUT YOUR WIND METER AWAY AND LOOK AROUND YOU AT ALL THE CLUES THERE TO HELP YOU CHOOSE YOUR KITE SIZE, IF YOU DIDN’T ALREADY KNOW BEFORE YOU GOT TO THE BEACH WHICH SIZE YOU WERE GOING TO FLY.” - MAUREEN CASTELLE LINE WINDERS. Although many have hit the market in the last 10 years, thankfully these haven’t gained a whole lot of traction on the beach and we do not often see them. In essence they are a device to aid you in rolling your lines and keeping them untangled so that you can connect your kite and get on the water that little bit sooner. But nothing is certain in the untangling of kite lines, just ask anyone who landed their kite on the beach, placed the bar on the ground, came back five minutes later to relaunch and suddenly the lines were tangled. How? One of the great unsolved mysteries of our time. Add this to the fact that if you go to launch your kite and then realize your lines are crossed, you enter into that annoying moment where the person launching your kite regrets ever saying yes and you have lost a kite buddy on the beach.

“I CAN GET ALL MY NECESSARY THINGS FOR MY SESSION ON TO A MOTORBIKE.” - THERESE TAABBEL BOARD FLOATERS. What on earth is a board floater or “GoJoe” some of you might be asking. It is an inflatable orange device that looks much like a child’s armband and attaches to the handle of the board. Its purpose being to make your board very easy to find if you lose it as the floater catches the wind which gently blows your board downwind.

Rider: Therese Taabbel Photo: KiteSista 164 | TheKiteMag


BOARD LEASHES. Probably the accessory with the worst reputation out there: the dreaded board leash. Whilst there are many retractable leashes on the market which do not necessarily ping the board back to your head at Mach 10, they fall under the same category as the floaters. It is a lazy or insecure persons alternative to learning to do something properly. Rider: Maureen Castelle Photo: KiteSista

FLOATATION JACKETS AND IMPACT VESTS. These are of course obligatory when you take your first lessons, but after that are seen as a sign that you either have zero confidence or don’t know how to swim. Whilst we do not recommend kitesurfing for those who can’t swim, we would never ask you to remove such an obvious safety device. With the rise in popularity of wave riding and the increased risk of finding yourself in the impact zone without a kite, an impact vest can provide both protection to your body and keep you on the surface in the event of things not going to plan. Don’t let anyone pressure you into thinking differently. HELMETS. We might as well attack this subject at the same time as impact vests. No one should ever be berated for wearing a helmet. It is a personal choice of course and whilst many experienced kiters will tell you a helmet is not necessary for kitesurfing, it is a bit of an essential when hitting sliders and kickers. Why? Because they are solid objects… Don’t forget that 20 years ago no one wore a helmet on the ski slopes either. The only thing we will say is that a helmet is there to protect your head, so those Darth Vader style helmets with full face visors are definitely not recommended unless you want to end up with a face full of plastic.

However, as children learn to swim and don’t keep armbands all their life, you should learn to body drag and not rely on devices such as this. There is a reason you learn to body drag before learning how to get on a board, it is a very important part of kitesurfing and will give you the confidence and ability to get out of dangerous situations should you need to.

SUNGLASSES. This one can quickly lead to heated discussion as you will see a lot of riders with sunglasses, and whilst we personally are not in favor of them due to the ‘plastic in face’ potential and the more common ‘sadness when they fall off and you lose them’, they are a big market. As a beginner there is a perceived need for them, as you look at the sky and your kite a huge amount, but as you progress more, you look up less… HATS. This one is very simple. If you are either a) protecting your head from the sun or b) keeping it warm in winter, a hat is a very good idea. If however you are wearing a baseball cap for style alone and every time it falls off you TheKiteMag | 165

have to ride or drag around trying to find it, well then you are not doing yourself or anyone else any favors. GLOVES. This is a strange one. Those who don’t wear gloves wonder why on earth you would ever want to, but those who do wear them are certain that without them their hands would simply disintegrate. Some would argue that if you need gloves you are gripping the bar too hard and this is down to bad technique so you should let your harness take the force of the kite and eliminate the gloves from your board bag. But if the air temp is sub 5 degrees and the wind is from the north then don’t leave home without them… SHORTS OVER THE WETSUIT. This has been touched on many a time but no one has come out and really said it, so we will. No. Plain and simple. It looks ridiculous, serves no purpose whatsoever and needs to stop now. People are actively laughing at you. GPS AND JUMP TRACKERS. When starting, stopping, configuring and uploading your session gets in the way of actually enjoying it, there is something wrong. Don’t get us wrong here, it is very cool to know how high you jump, but does the rest of the world need to know after every session? And we certainly don’t want to see a google maps overlay showing your GPS track and you going back and forth for two hours at your local spot… Spare Parts. A spare part can make the difference between an epic session and a wasted trip (think about a spare binding screw for example). However, having EVERY spare part for any eventuality is going to weigh you down and potentially keep you awake at night in a state of nervous tension that you have missed something.

“HAVING A GOOD VARIETY OF SPARE PARTS AS WELL AS TOOLS IS SOMETHING I NEVER TRAVEL WITHOUT!” - COLLEEN CARROLL We were very guilty of this in the past, although we traveled with the ability to help any kiter in need, the 12 spare fins (you will only lose one), sockets and screwdrivers for every possible use, spare lines etc. will only end up costing you more in weight allowance. Slim your tool kit down to the essentials and take your chances… 166 | TheKiteMag

The Poncho. This can be a real lifesaver in wintery car parks, and a very stylish accessory to boot, but choose wisely. We dropped the heavier towel ponchos which weighed quite a bit in favor of a Thuggies (other stylish brands are available but we are rather fond of this one) which doubles up as a jumper which means one less item of clothing to bring.




Rider: Colleen Carroll Photo: Toby Bromwich

We want to close out by breaking a common misconception: there is no official kit. As long as it is comfortable and you like it, then wear it. Feel free to start your own trend, be it a shirt over your harness, denim shorts, vests or whatever – if it is your style and it doesn’t cause undue chaffing or risk of strangulation then rock it with pride! We don’t all need to be carbon copies of each other on the water.

Some of the inspiration for this article came from Baloo the Bear. As we sung along to Jungle Book this little passage stuck in our heads and rings true to many aspects of the kitesurfer’s existence... Don’t spend your time lookin’ around For something you want that can’t be found When you find out you can live without it And go along not thinkin’ about it I’ll tell you something true The bare necessities of life will come to you. TheKiteMag | 167


Eudazio Earth And Spaces 2016 Sometimes it’s not the clips with all the hype and the big intros that blow you away, sometimes it’s the cheeky little sub two-minute ones that have you transfixed. This one was shot over the course of two sessions but the quality of the drone shooting and the general vibe made it a real standout for us… We asked Eudazio to tell us how it came about… Where was clip filmed? This clip was filmed at two beaches on Fuerteventura. El Burro Beach (Corralejo) and Calle Majanicho.

And are we right in thinking that this has been part of a bigger series of ‘Earth and Spaces’ clips with Nobile? Yes, there were three clips filmed on Fuerteventura last summer which we have rolled out over the year.

So did you film them at separate times? Yes, we planned everything with Nobile before and then we filmed them separately.

We thought this was the best freestyle footage we had ever seen shot from a drone! Who was flying the drone and how did you co-ordinate with them so you knew you were pulling your moves in the right place? It was the ‘Off Creative’ crew. The drone pilot was Aleksander Lewandowski who 168 | TheKiteMag

was also filming and editing the clip. Aleksander is also a Nobile ambassador, so he knows when, how and why I will do this or that on the water! Can you imagine that we just spent one hour on the water in El Burro and one hour in Majanicho! It was done quickly but we were very happy with it.

What is your favorite move in the clip? At 1:09 I like the Double Heart Attack.

Did you choose the soundtrack? Nope, but I like it a lot. It’s Maciej Jazwiecki from Off Creative’s idea.

And how are you doing after your injury? Very well. It was a stunning idea to come to Poland for the operation thanks to Gosia Rosiak-Brawanska, the Nobile CEO. This is true support and I appreciate that a lot. I am feeling good and my knee works perfectly. Now I need to work in the gym and do some special exercises. So I will be back soon!

Cool, and when do you hope to be back on the contest circuit? Next season for sure. I will have plenty of time to prepare for the fight for the title!

Nobile have some new kites and boards launching soon – did you have a chance to ride them before your injury? No, because of my injury I could not complete the tests. But I can say that my favorite board, the 50/Fifty, is probably the best freestyle board ever made! Perfectly engineered construction, and carbon fibre in the upper part of the board between the bindings ensures that the board’s tips always stay on the surface. This increases the chances of landing even after the most difficult tricks, while you don’t have to worry about your joints. I can only say that the new black design is outstanding and 50/ Fifty 2016-17 is very light which makes it faster, more responsive, with a wide wind range. I can’t wait to get out on it!

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172 | TheKiteMag


DAYS I N T H E SA N D W I T H M AT C H U | M A I T I M E : T H E S U S I M A I I N T E RV I E W | T E S T E D : 1 0 F O I L S |

T H E M AU R I T I U S I N V I TAT I O N A L : 1 0 Y E A R S O N . . .

TheKiteMag #10 - English  
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